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The Life Stories 

of X-AUfo^r 

Undistinguished Americans 

As Told by Themselves 

Edited by Hamilton Holt 

With an Introduction by Edwin E. Slosson 




- SE 




CHAPTER I, > .,; 






















The INDEPENDENT has published during the 
last four years about seventy-five autobiogra 
phies of undistinguished American men and 
women. The aim of each autobiography was 
to typify the life of the average worker in 
some particular vocation, and to make each 
story the genuine experience of a real person. 
From this list have been selected the following 
sixteen lives as most representative of the hum 
bler classes in the nation, and of individuals 
whose training and work have been the most 
diverse. Thus we have the story of the 
butcher, the sweat-shop worker, the boot 
black, the push-cart peddler, the lumber man, 
the dressmaker, the nurse girl, the cook, the 
cotton-picker, the head-hunter, the trained 
nurse, the editor, the minister, the butler 
and the laundryman. They also represent 
the five great races of mankind, the white, yel 
low, red, brown and black, and include immi 
grants from Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Ire 
land, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Syria, 
China and Japan. I am aware that some of 
these autobiographies, or "lifelets," are crude 
from a literary point of view, but they all have 
a deep human interest and perhaps some socio 
logical importance. 




THE late Jules Verne about a year before 
his death created something of a sensa 
tion by saying that the novel had reached its 
height and would soon be displaced from its 
present position of influence and popularity 
by new forms of literature. Whether the 
fact that his later romances had not sold as 
well as his earlier had anything to do with this 
pessimistic view of the outlook for his trade, 
there is much to indicate that he was right. 
It is true that there are more novels written 
and read than ever before, and there is no 
decline in quality, whether we consider the 
average or the exceptional. But the habitual 
readers of fiction, notwithstanding their con- 
spicuousness and vocality, form only a small 
and continually smaller proportion of the 
total number of readers. Most men and 
many women prefer to come into closer touch 
with reality and seek it, often in vain, in the 
newspapers. Consequently fiction is under- 


going a process of fission ; the cleft between the 
realistic and romantic novels is widening. 
The former are becoming more nearly a tran 
script of life, and the latter, no longer tethered 
to earth, are soaring into the ether of the 
imaginary and impossible. In the same way 
the old-fashioned melodrama is differenti 
ating into the drawing-room comedy and the 
burlesque opera. 

When you propose to tell a story to children 
they interrupt at the first sentence with the 
question, " Is it a true story? " As we evade 
or ignore this natural and pertinent inquiry 
they finally cease to ask it, and we blur for 
them the edges of reality until it fades off into 
the mists. The hardest part of the training 
of the scientist is to get back the clear sight of 
his childhood. But nowadays our educators 
do not do quite so much as formerly to en 
courage the mythopeic faculty of children. 
It has been found that their imagination can 
be exercised by other objects than the imag 
inary. Consequently the number of readers 
who are impatient of any detectable deviation 
from truth is increasing. 

Besides this, most people perhaps all- 
are more impressed by the concrete than the 
abstract. The generalized types of humanity 
as expressed by the artist in painting and 
sculpture, romances and poems do not interest 
them so much as do individuals. A composite 
photograph of a score of girls is very beauti- 



ful, but one is not apt to fall in love with it, 
notwithstanding the stories for which this has 
served as the theme. The scientist has a very 
clear and definite conception of kinetic energy 
when it is expressed by the formula mv 2 , but 
he is more forcibly struck by it when he is hit 
on the head with a club. Formerly botanists 
used to talk a great deal about species and 
types ; later they turned their attention to vari 
eties, and now the men who are making the 
most progress are experimenting with one 
plant and a single flower of that one. The 
candidate for a Ph.D. watches a single amoeba 
under a microscope and writes his thesis on 
one day s doings of its somewhat monotonous 
life. The man who can describe the antics of 
a squirrel in a tree has all the publishers after 
him, while the zoologist has to pay for the 
publication of his monograph on the Sciuri- 
dce. The type of the naturalist, the ideal 
statue of the sculptor, the algebraic formula 
of the physicist and the hero and heroine of 
the romancer have a symmetry, universality 
and beauty above that of any individual and 
in a sense they are truer, but their chief value 
is not in themselves but in their use as guides 
to the better understanding of the individual, 
from which they originate and to which they 

To these two forces tending to develop new 
forms of literature, the love of truth and the 
interest in the concrete, we must add one 


other, the spirit of democracy, the discovery of 
the importance of the average man. This, 
after all, is the most profitable branch of nature 
study, the study of Homo sapiens, and of his 
wife, who, in this country at least, usually also 
belongs to the species sapiens. Wild adven 
tures, erratic characters, strange scenes and 
impossible emotions are no longer required 
even in fiction. The ordinary man under 
ordinary circumstances interests us most be 
cause he is most akin to us. In politics he has 
gained his rights and in history and literature 
he is coming to be recognized. We realize 
now that a very good history of France could 
be written, better than most of the old-fash 
ioned kind, without mentioning the name of 
Louis XIV or Napoleon. 

The resultant of these three forces gives us 
the general direction of the literature of the 
future. It will be more realistic, more per 
sonal and less exceptional. The combination 
of these qualities is found in the autobiog 
raphy, which, as Longfellow said years ago, "is 
what all biography ought to be." It has al 
ways been a favorite form in fiction, from 
"Apuleius," "Arabian Nights" and "Rob 
inson Crusoe " to the present. Now when we 
publish a " Life and Letters " we lay the em 
phasis on the latter part. A great deal of fun 
has been made of those who preferred to read 
the love letters of the Brownings rather than 
the " Sonnets from the Portuguese " and 



" One Word More," but who will say that the 
verdict of the future will not vindicate these 
readers rather than their critics? 

One other characteristic of the modern 
reader must be taken into consideration, his 
love of brevity. The short story is more pop 
ular than the novel, the vaudeville sketch than 
the drama. We have, then, a demand for the 
brief autobiography, the life story in a few 
pages. Since this form of literature seems 
likely to become a distinct type we might ven 
ture to give it the provisional name of the 
" lifelet." Its relation to other literary forms 
is shown most succinctly by this equation : 

lifelet : autobiography : : short story : novel 

The short story is older than the art of 
writing, but it is only recently that it has at 
tained a perfection and definiteness of form 
which has caused it to be recognized and stud 
ied by rhetoricians. The lifelets now being 
written are like the average short stories of 
fifty years ago in crudity and indefiniteness 
of aim, but already we can see something of 
the laws and limitations of this new literary 
type. In its construction the same general 
rules apply as to the short story, and conden 
sation, elimination, subordination and selec 
tion are necessary in order to make it readable 
and truthful. It really demands as much lit 
erary skill as any form of fiction, but when 



it is strictly autobiographical this is likely to 
be lacking. However, the number of per 
sons who can write fairly well when they have 
the material is great and increasing with the 
spread of education. It has been said that 
every one s life contains the material for one 
good novel. It would evidently be more 
plausible to say this of the lifelet. 

Short autobiographies of undistinguished 
people occasionally appear in most of our 
magazines, but The Independent has pub 
lished more than any other, for its Managing 
Editor, Mr. Hamilton Holt, has for several 
years devoted himself to procuring such nar 
ratives with the object of ultimately presenting 
in this way a complete picture of American 
life in all its strata. These life stories found 
favor with the readers of The Independent, 
so a few of them have been selected for publi 
cation in this volume. In the selection the 
aim has been to include a representative of 
each of the races which go to make up our 
composite nationality, and of as many differ 
ent industries as possible. The book has, 
therefore, a unity of theme and purpose that 
may compensate for its diversity of topic and 
style. It is a mosaic picture composed of 
living tesserae. 

In procuring these stories two methods were 
used; first and preferably, to have the life 
written upon his own initiative by the person 
who lived it; second, in the case of one too 




ignorant or too impatient to write, to have 
the story written from interviews, and then 
read to and approved by the person telling 
it. Since the author s name is often omitted 
or is unknown to the reader, he will have to 
be content with the Editor s assurance that 
great pains have been taken in all cases to see 
that the account is truthful, both as to facts 
and mode of thought, and that it is a represen 
tative, and not exceptional experience of its 
class. These sketches, therefore, are very dif 
ferent in character from those of professional 
writers of the wealthy or w r ell-to-do class, who 
temporarily become tramps, factory girls, or 
nursery governesses, or who join the crowd 
of the unemployed for the purpose of later 
securing employment as professors or editors. 
This book is, then, intended not merely to 
satisfy our common curiosity as to "how the 
other half lives," but to have both a present 
and a future value as a study in sociology. If 
Plutarch had given us the life stories of a 
slave and a hoplite, a peasant and a potter, w r e 
would willingly have dispensed with an 
equivalent number of kings and philosophers. 
Carlyle gave to his volume of biographies the 
title " Heroes and Hero Worship." Emer 
son gave to his the title " Representative Men." 
Both were right. We can understand the 
significance of the great man only when we 
view him both as a product of his times and as 
an innovator. So, also, to understand a social 


class, we must study it both statistically and 
individually. Biography and demography 
are equally useful, the former more vivid, the 
latter more comprehensive. One who studies 
Charles Booth s nine large volumes on the 
" Life and Labor of the Poor in London " 
will know as exactly as possible how many 
men in that city are hungry and cold, but he 
will be more likely to gain a definite realiza 
tion of their condition and a stronger impulse 
to remedy it, by reading Jack London s "The 
People of the Abyss." 

Lincoln said that "God must love the com 
mon people because he made so many of 
them." In all countries the question of na 
tional destiny is always ultimately settled by 
the will of majority, whether the people vote 
or not. It is the undistinguished people who 
move the world, or who prevent it from mov 
ing. And the wise statesman is he who can 
best read the minds of the non-vocal part of 
the population, the silent partners who have 
the controlling vote in the governmental firm. 





The Lithuanian, who told the following story of his life to Mr. 
Ernest Poole, is a workman in the Chicago Stockyards and gave 
his name as Antanas Kaztauskis. 

THIS is not my real name, because if this 
story is printed it may be read back in 
Lithuania, and I do not want to get my father 
and the ugly shoemaker into trouble with the 
Russian Government. 

It was the shoemaker who made me want to 
come to America. He was a traveling shoe 
maker, for on our farms we tan our own 
cowhides, and the shoemaker came to make 
them into boots for us. By traveling he 
learned all the news and he smuggled in news 
papers across the frontier from Germany. 
We were always glad to hear him talk. 

I can never forget that evening four years 
ago. It was a cold December. We were in 
a big room in our log house in Lithuania. 
My good, kind, thin old mother sat near the 
wide fireplace, working her brown spinning 
wheel, with which she made cloth for our shirts 
and coats and pants. I sat on the floor in 
front of her with my knee-boots off and my 



feet stretched out to the fire. My feet were 
cold, for I had been out with my young brother 
in the freezing sheds milking the cows and 
feeding the sheep and geese. I leaned my 
head on her dress and kept yawning and think 
ing about my big goose-feather bed. My 
father sat and smoked his pipe across the fire 
place. Between was a kerosene lamp on a 
table, and under it sat the ugly shoemaker on 
a stool finishing a big yellow boot. His 
sleeves were rolled up ; his arms were thin and 
bony, but you could see how strong the fingers 
and wrist were, for when he grabbed the 
needle he jerked it through and the whole 
arm s length up. This arm kept going up and 
down. Every time it went up he jerked back 
his long mixed-up red hair and grunted. And 
you could just see his face bony and shut to 
gether tight, and his narrow sharp eyes look 
ing down. Then his head would go down 
again, and his hair would get all mixed up. I 
kept watching him. My fat, older brother, 
who sat behind with his fat wife, grinned and 
said : " Look out or your eyes will make holes 
in the leather." My brother s eyes were al 
ways dull and sleepy. Men like him stay in 

At last the boot was finished. The little 
shoemaker held it up and looked at it. My 
father stopped smoking and looked at it. 
" That s a good boot," said my father. The 
shoemaker grunted. That s a damn poor 


boot," he replied (instead of " damn " he said 
" skatina ") , " a rough boot like all your boots, 
and so when you grow old you are lame. You 
have only poor things, for rich Russians get 
your good things, and yet you will not kick up 
against them. Bah!" 

" I don t like your talk," said my father, 
and he spit into the fire, as he always did when 
he began to think. " I am honest. I work 
hard. We get along. That s all. So what 
good will such talk do me? " 

4 You!" cried the shoemaker, and he now 
threw the boot on the floor so that our big 
dog lifted up his head and looked around. 
" It s not you at all. It s the boy that boy 
there!" and he pointed to me. "That boy 
must go to America! " 

Now I quickly stopped yawning and I 
looked at him all the time after this. My 
mother looked frightened and she put her 
hand on my head. "No, no; he is only a 
boy," she said. " Bah! " cried the shoemaker, 
pushing back his hair, and then I felt he was 
looking right through me. "He is eighteen 
and a man. You know where he must go in 
three years more." We all knew he meant 
my five years in the army. Where is your 
oldest son? Dead. Oh, I know the Russians 
the man- wolves ! I served my term, I know 
how it is. Your son served in Turkey in the 
mountains. Why not here? Because they 
want foreign soldiers here to beat us. He 


had four roubles ($2.08) pay for three months, 
and with that he had to pay men like me to 
make his shoes and clothes. Oh, the wolves! 
They let him soak in rain; standing guard all 
night in the snow and ice he froze, the food 
was God s food, the vodka was cheap and rot 
ten! Then he died. The wolves the man 
wolves! Look at this book." He jerked a 
Roman Catholic prayer book from his bag on 
the floor. Where would I go if they found 
this on me? Where is Wilhelm Birbell? " 

At this my father spit hard again into the 
fire and puffed his pipe fast. 

Where is Wilhelm Birbell? " cried the 
shoemaker, and we all kept quiet. We all 
knew. Birbell was a rich farmer who smug 
gled in prayer books from Germany so that 
we all could pray as we liked, instead of the 
Russian Church way. He was caught one 
night and they kept him two years in the St. 
Petersburg jail, in a cell so narrow and short 
that he could not stretch out his legs, for they 
were very long. This made him lame for life. 
Then they sent him to Irkutsk, down in 
Siberia. There he sawed logs to get food. 
He escaped and now he is here in Chicago. 
But at that time he was in jail. 

"Where is Wilhelm Birbell?" cried the 
shoemaker. " Oh, the wolves ! And what is 
this? " He pulled out an old American news 
paper, printed in the Lithuanian language, 
and I remember he tore it he was so angry. 


" The world s good news is all kept away. 
We can only read what Russian officials print 
in their papers. Read? No, you can t read 
or write your own language, because there is 
no Lithuanian school only the Russian school 
you can only read and write Russian. Can 
you? No, you can t! Because even those 
Russian schools make you pay to learn, and 
you have no money to pay. Will you never 
be ashamed all you? Listen to me." 

Now I looked at my mother and her face 
looked frightened, but the shoemaker cried 
still louder. " Why can t you have your own 
Lithuanian school? Because you are like 
dogs you have nothing to say you have no 
town meetings or province meetings, no elec 
tions. You are slaves! And why can t you 
even pay to go to their Russian school? Be 
cause they get all your money. Only twelve 
acres you own, but you pay eighty roubles 
($40) taxes. You must work twelve days 
on your Russian roads. Your kind old wife 
must plow behind the oxen, for I saw her last 
summer, and she looked tired. You must all 
slave, but still your rye and wheat brings little 
money, because they cheat you bad. Oh, the 
wolves how fat they are! And so your boy 
must never read or write, or think like a man 
should think." 

But now my mother cried out, and her voice 
was shaking. Leave us alone you leave 
us ! We need no money we trade our things 


for the things we need at the store we have 
all we need leave us alone! " 

Then my fat brother grinned and said to 
the shoemaker, " You always stir up young 
men to go to America. Why don t you go 
yourself? " 

I remember that the little shoemaker had 
pulled a big crooked pipe out of his bag. 
Now he took a splinter from the basket of 
splinters which hung on the wall and he lit his 
pipe and puffed it. His face showed me that 
he felt bad. " I am too old," he said, " to learn 
a new trade. These boots are no good in 
America. America is no place for us old ras 
cals. My son is in Chicago in the stockyards, 
and he writes to me. They have hard knocks. 
If you are sick or old there and have no money 
you must die. That Chicago place has 
trouble, too. Do you see that light? That is 
kerosene. Do you remember the price went 
up last year? That is Rockefeller. My son 
writes me about him. He is another man- 
wolf. A few men like him are grabbing all 
the good things the oil and coal and meat 
and everything. But against these men you 
can strike if you are young. You can read 
free papers and prayer books. In Chicago 
there are prayer books for every man and 
woman. You can have free meetings and talk 
out what you think. And so if you are young 
you can change all these troubles. But I am 
old. I can feel it now, this winter. So I 


only tell young men to go." He looked hard 
at me and I looked at him. He kept talking. 
" I tell them to go where they can choose their 
own kind of God where they can learn to 
read and write, and talk, and think like men 
and have good things! " 

He kept looking at me, but he opened the 
newspaper and held it up. " Some day," he 
said, " I will be caught and sent to jail, but I 
don t care. I got this from my son, who reads 
all he can find at night. It had to be smug 
gled in. I lend it many times to many young 
men. My son got it from the night school 
and he put it in Lithuanian for me to see." 
Then he bent over the paper a long time and 
his lips moved. At last he looked into the fire 
and fixed his hair, and then his voice was shak 
ing and very low: 

" We know these are true things that all men are 
born free and equal that God gives them rights 
which no man can take away that among these 
rights are life, liberty and the getting of happiness. 

He stopped, I remember, and looked at me, 
and I was not breathing. He said it again. 

Life, liberty and the getting of happiness. 
Oh, that is what you want." 

My mother began to cry. " He cannot go 
if his father commands him to stay," she kept 
saying. I knew this was true, for in Lith 
uania a father can command his son till he 



" No, he must not go," said the shoemaker, 
" if his father commands him to stay." He 
turned and looked hard at my father. My 
father was looking into the fire. " If he 
goes," said my father, " those Russians will 
never let him come back." My mother cried 
harder. We all waited for him to say some 
thing else. In about five minutes the shoe 
maker got up and asked, " Well, what do you 
say, the army or America? " But my father 
shook his head and would not say anything. 
Soon my brother began yawning and took his 
fat wife and went to bed. The little shoe 
maker gathered his tools into his big bag and 
threw it over his shoulder. His shoulder was 
crooked. Then he came close to me and 
looked at me hard. 

I am old," he said, " I wish I was young. 
And you must be old soon and that will be too 
late. The army the man wolves! Bah! it is 

After he was gone my father and I kept 
looking at the fire. My mother stopped cry 
ing and went out. Our house was in two parts 
of two rooms each. Between the parts was 
an open shed and in this shed was a big oven, 
where she was baking bread that night. I 
could hear her pull it out to look at it and then 
push it back. Then she came in and sat down 
beside me and began spinning again. I 
leaned against her dress and watched the fire 
and thought about America. Sometimes I 


looked at my father, and she kept looking at 
him, too, but he would not say anything. At 
last my old mother stopped spinning and put 
her hand on my forehead. 

" Alexandria is a fine girl," she whispered. 
This gave me a quick, bad feeling. Alexandria 
was the girl I wanted to marry. She lived 
about ten miles away. Her father liked my 
father and they seemed to be glad that I loved 
her. I had often been thinking at night how 
in a few years I would go with my uncle to her 
house and ask her father and mother to give 
her to me. I could see the wedding all ahead 
how we would go to her house on Saturday 
night and they would have music there and 
many people and we would have a sociable 
time. Then in the morning we would go to 
the church and be married and come back to 
my father s house and live with him. I saw it 
all ahead, and I was sure we would be very 
happy. Now I began thinking of this. I 
could see her fine soft eyes and I hated to go 
away. My old mother kept her hands mov 
ing on my forehead. Yes, she is a nice girl ; 
a kind, beautiful girl," she kept whispering. 
We sat there till the lamp went out. Then 
the fire got low and the room was cold and 
we went to bed. But I could not sleep and 
kept thinking. 

The next day my father told me that I 
could not go until the time came for the army, 
three years ahead. " Stay until then and then 


we will see," he said. My mother was very 
glad and so was I, because of Alexandria. 
But in the coldest part of that winter my dear 
old mother got sick and died. The neighbors 
all came in and sang holy songs for two days 
and nights. The priest was there and my 
father bought fine candles. Two of the 
neighbors made a coffin. At last it was all 
over. For a long time our log house was al 
ways quiet. 

That summer the shoemaker came again 
and talked with me. This time I was very 
eager to go to America, and my father told 
me I could go. 

One morning I walked over to say good-by 
to Alexandria. It was ten miles and the road 
was dusty, so I carried my boots over my 
shoulder, as we always did, and I put them 
on when I came near her house. When I saw 
her I felt very bad, and so did she. I had the 
strongest wish I ever had to take hold of her 
and keep her all my life. We stayed together 
till it was dark and night fogs came up out of 
the field grass, and we could hardly see the 
house. Then she said good-by. For many 
nights I kept remembering the way she looked 
up at me. 

The next night after supper I started. It 
is against the law to sell tickets to America, but 
my father saw the secret agent in the village 
and he got a ticket from Germany and found 
us a guide. I had bread and cheese and honey 


and vodka and clothes in my bag. Some of 
the neighbors walked a few miles and said 
good-by and then went back. My father and 
my younger brother walked on all night with 
the guide and me. At daylight we came to 
the house of a man the guide knew. We 
slept there and that night I left my father 
and young brother. My father gave me $50 
besides my ticket. The next morning before 
light we were going through the woods and 
we came to the frontier. Three roads run 
along the frontier. On the first road there is 
a soldier every mile, who stands there all night. 
On the second road is a soldier every half 
mile, and on the third road is a soldier every 
quarter of a mile. The guide went ahead 
through the woods. I hid with my big bag 
behind a bush and whenever he raised his hand 
I sneaked along. I felt cold all over and 
sometimes hot. He told me that sometimes 
he took twenty immigrants together, all with 
out passports, and then he could not pass the 
soldiers and so he paid a soldier he knew one 
dollar a head to let them by. He said the 
soldier was very strict and counted them to see 
that he was not being cheated. 

So I was in Germany. Two days after 
that we reached Tilsit and the guide took me 
to the railroad man. This man had a crowd 
of immigrants in a room, and we started that 
night on the railroad fourth class. It was 
bad riding sometimes. I used to think of 


Alexandria. We were all green and slow. 
The railroad man used to say to me, " You 
will have to be quicker than this in Chicago," 
and he was right. We were very slow in the 
stations where we changed trains, and he used 
to shout at us then, and one old German man 
who spoke Lithuanian told me what the man 
was calling us. When he told me this I hur 
ried, and so did the others, and we began to 
learn to be quicker. It took three days to get 
to Hamburg. There we were put in a big 
house called a barracks, and we waited a week. 
The old German man told me that the bar 
racks men were cheating us. He had been 
once to Cincinnati in America to visit his 
son, who kept a saloon. His old, long pipe 
was stolen there. He kept saying, " Dem 
grafters, dem grafters," in a low voice when 
ever they brought food to sell, for our bags 
were now empty. They kept us there till our 
money was half spent on food. I asked the 
old man what kind of American men were 
grafters, and he said, " All kinds in Cincin 
nati, but more in Chicago!" I knew I was 
going to Chicago, and I began to think 
quicker. I thought quicker yet on the boat. 
I saw men playing cards. I played and lost 
$1.86 in my new money, till the old man came 
behind me and said, " Dem grafters." When 
I heard this I got scared and threw down my 
cards. That old man used to point up at the 
rich people looking down at us and say, 


" Dem grafters." They were the richest peo 
ple I had ever seen the boat was the biggest 
boat I had ever seen the machine that made 
it go was very big, and so was the horn that 
blew in a fog. I felt everything get bigger 
and go quicker every day. 

It was the most when we came to New 
York. We were driven in a thick crowd to 
the railroad station. The old man kept point 
ing and saying, " Grafters, grafters," till the 
guide punched him and said, " Be quick, damn 
you, be quick." . . . "I will be quick 
pretty soon," said the old man to me, " and den 
I will get back dot pipe in Cincinnati. And 
when I will be quicker still, alreddy, I will 
steal some odder man s pipe. Every quick 
American man is a grafter.** I began to be 
lieve that this was true, but I was mixed up 
and could not think long at one time. Every 
thing got quicker worse and worse till then 
at last I was in a boarding house by the stock 
yards in Chicago with three Lithuanians, who 
knew my father s sisters at home. 

That first night we sat around in the house 
and they asked me, " Well, why did you 
come? " I told them about that first night 
and what the ugly shoemaker said about " life, 
liberty and the getting of happiness." They 
all leaned back and laughed. " What you 
need is money," they said. " It was all right 
at home. You wanted nothing. You ate 
your own meat and your own things on the 


farm. You made your own clothes and had 
your own leather. The other things you got 
at the Jew man s store and paid him with sacks 
of rye. But here you want a hundred things. 
Whenever you walk out you see new things 
you want, and you must have money to buy 

Then one man asked me, " How much have 
you? " and I told him $30. " You must buy 
clothes to look rich, even if you are not rich," 
he said. With good clothes you will have 

The next morning three of these men took 
me to a store near the stockyards to buy a coat 
and pants. " Look out," said one of them. 
"Is he a grafter?" I asked. They all 
laughed. You stand still. That is all you 
have to do," they said. So the Jew man kept 
putting on coats and I moved my arms and 
back and sides when they told me. We stayed 
there till it was time for dinner. Then we 
bought a suit. I paid $5 and then I was to 
pay $1 a week for five weeks. 

In the afternoon I went to a big store. 
There was a man named Elias. " He is not 
a grafter," said my friends. He was nice to 
me and gave me good advice how to get a job. 
I bought two shirts, a hat, a collar, a necktie, 
two pairs of socks and some shoes. We kept 
going upstairs and downstairs. I saw one 
Lithuanian man buying everything for his 
wife and three children, who would come here 


the next week from Lithuania. My things 
cost me $8. I put these on right away and 
then I began to feel better. 

The next night they took me for a walk 
down town. We would not pay to ride, so 
we walked so long that I wanted to take my 
shoes off, but I did not tell them this. When 
we came there I forgot my feet. We stood 
by one theater and watched for half an hour. 
Then we walked all around a store that filled 
one whole block and had walls of glass. 
Then we had a drink of whiskey, and this is 
better than vodka. We felt happier and 
looked into cafes. We saw shiny carriages and 
automobiles. I saw men with dress suits, I 
saw women with such clothes that I could not 
think at all. Then my friends punched me 
and I turned around and saw one of these 
women, and with her was a gentleman in a 
fine dress suit. I began looking harder. It 
was the Jew man that sold me my suit. " He 
is a grafter," said my friends. " See what 
money can do." Then we walked home and 
I felt poor and my shoes got very bad. 

That night I felt worse. We were tired 
out when we reached the stockyards, so we 
stopped on the bridge and looked into the river 
out there. It was so full of grease and dirt 
and sticks and boxes that it looked like a big, 
wide, dirty street, except in some places, where 
it boiled up. It made me sick to look at it. 
When I looked away I could see on one side 


some big fields full of holes, and these were the 
city dumps. On the other side were the stock 
yards, with twenty tall slaughter house chim 
neys. The wind blew a big smell from them 
to us. Then we walked on between the yards 
and the dumps and all the houses looked bad 
and poor. In our house my room was in the 
basement. I lay down on the floor with three 
other men and the air was rotten. I did not 
go to sleep for a long time. I knew then that 
money was everything I needed. My money 
was almost gone and I thought that I would 
soon die unless I got a job, for this was not 
like home. Here money was everything and 
a man without money must die. 

The next morning my friends woke me up 
at five o clock and said, " Now, if you want 
life, liberty and happiness," they laughed, 
" you must push for yourself. You must get 
a job. Come with us." And we went to the 
yards. Men and women were walking in by 
thousands as far as we could see. We went 
to the doors of one big slaughter house. 
There was a crowd of about 200 men waiting 
there for a job. They looked hungry and kept 
watching the door. At last a special police 
man came out and began pointing to men, one 
by one. Each one jumped forward. Twenty- 
three were taken. Then they all went inside, 
and all the others turned their faces away and 
looked tired. I remember one boy sat down 
and cried, just next to me, on a pile of boards. 


Some policemen waved their clubs and we all 
walked on. I found some Lithuanians to talk 
with, who told me they had come every morn 
ing for three weeks. Soon we met other 
crowds coming away from other slaughter 
houses, and we all walked around and felt bad 
and tired and hungry. 

That night I told my friends that I would 
not do this many days, but would go some 
place else. Where? " they asked me, and I 
began to see then that I was in bad trouble, 
because I spoke no English. Then one man 
told me to give him $5 to give the special 
policeman. I did this and the next morning 
the policeman pointed me out, so I had a job. 
I have heard some big talk since then about my 
American freedom of contract, but I do not 
think I had much freedom in bargaining for 
this job with the Meat Trust. My job was in 
the cattle killing room. I pushed the blood 
along the gutter. Some people think these 
jobs make men bad. I do not think so. The 
men who do the killing are not as bad as the 
ladies with fine clothes who come every day to 
look at it, because they have to do it. The 
cattle do not suffer. They are knocked sense 
less with a big hammer and are dead before 
they wake up. This is done not to spare them 
pain, but because if they got hot and sweating 
with fear and pain the meat would not be so 
good. I soon saw that every job in the 
room was done like this so as to save 


everything and make money. One Lithu 
anian who worked with me, said, " They get 
all the blood out of those cattle and all the 
work out of us men." This was true, for we 
worked that first day from six in the morning 
till seven at night. The next day we worked 
from six in the morning till eight at night. 
The next day we had no work. So we had 
no good, regular hours. It was hot in the 
room that summer, and the hot blood made it 

I held this job six weeks and then I was 
turned off. I think some other man had paid 
for my job, or perhaps I was too slow. The 
foreman in that room wanted quick men to 
make the work rush, because he was paid more 
if the work was done cheaper and quicker. I 
saw now that every man was helping himself, 
always trying to get all the money he could. 
At that time I believed that all men in Chicago 
were grafters when they had to be. They 
only wanted to push themselves. Now, when 
I was idle I began to look about, and every 
where I saw sharp men beating out slow men 
like me. Even if we worked hard it did us 
no good. I had saved $13 $5 a week for six 
weeks makes $30, and take off $15 for six 
weeks board and lodging and $2 for other 
things. I showed this to a Lithuanian, who 
had been here two years, and he laughed. 
" It will be taken from you," he said. He had 
saved a hundred dollars once and had begun to 


buy a house on the installment plan, but some 
thing had happened that he did not know 
about and his landlord put him out and kept 
the hundred dollars. I found that many 
Lithuanians had been beaten this way. At 
home we never made a man sign contract 
papers. We only had him make the sign of 
a cross and promise he would do what he said. 
But this was no good in Chicago. So these 
sharp men were beating us. 

I saw this, too, in the newspaper. I was be 
ginning to learn English, and at night in the 
boarding house the men who did not play cards 
used to read the paper to us. The biggest 
word was " Graft " in red letters on the front 
page. Another word was Trust." This 
paper kept putting these two words together. 
Then I began to see how every American man 
was trying to get money for himself. I won 
dered if the old German man in Cincinnati 
had found his pipe yet. I felt very bad and 
sorrowful in that month. I kept walking 
around with many other Lithuanians who had 
no job. Our money was going and we could 
find nothing to do. At night we got home 
sick for our fine green mountains. We read 
all the news about home in our Lithuanian 
Chicago newspaper, The Katalikas. It is a 
good paper and gives all the news. In the 
same office we bought this song, which was 
written in Brooklyn by P. Brandukas. He, 
too, was homesick. It is sung all over Chi 
li 27 ] 


cago and you can hear it in the summer even 
ings through the open windows. In English 
it is something like this: 

"Oh, Lithuania, so dear to me, 
Good-by to you, my Fatherland. 
Sorrowful in my heart I leave you. 
I know not who will stay to guard you. 

Is it enough for me to live and enjoy between my 


In the woods with the flowers and birds? 
Is it enough for me to live peaceful between my 

friends ? 
No, I must go away from my old father and mother. 

The sun shines bright, 
The flowers smell sweet, 
The birds are singing, 
They make the country glad : 
But I cannot sing because I must leave you." 

Those were bad days and nights. At last 
I had a chance to help myself. Summer was 
over and Election Day was coming. The Re 
publican boss in our district, Jonidas, was a 
saloon keeper. A friend took me there. Jon 
idas shook hands and treated me fine. He 
taught me to sign my name, and the next week 
I went with him to an office and signed some 
paper, and then I could vote. I voted as I 
was told, and then they got me back into the 
yards to work, because one big politician owns 
stock in one of those houses. Then I felt that 
I was getting in beside the game. I was in a 


combine like other sharp men. Even when 
work was slack I was all right, because they 
got me a job in the street cleaning department. 
I felt proud, and I went to the back room in 
Jonidas s saloon and got him to write a letter 
to Alexandria to tell her she must come soon 
and be my wife. 

But this was just the trouble. All of us 
were telling our friends to come soon. Soon 
they came even thousands. The employers 
in the yard liked this, because those sharp fore 
men are inventing new machines and the work 
is easier to learn, and so these slow Lithuanians 
and even green girls can learn to do it, and 
then the Americans and Germans and Irish are 
put out and the employer saves money, be 
cause the Lithuanians work cheaper. This 
was why the American labor unions began to 
organize us all just the same as they had or 
ganized the Bohemians and Poles before us. 

Well, we were glad to be organized. We 
had learned that in Chicago every man must 
push himself always, and Jonidas had taught 
us how much better we could push ourselves 
by getting into a combine. Now, we saw that 
this union was the best combine for us, because 
it was the only combine that could say, " It 
is our business to raise your wages." 

But that Jonidas he spoilt our first union. 

He was sharp. First he got us to hire the 

room over his saloon. He used to come in at 

our meetings and sit in the back seat and grin. 



There was an Irishman there from the union 
headquarters, and he was trying to teach us 
to run ourselves. He talked to a Lithuanian, 
and the Lithuanian said it to us, but we were 
slow to do things, and we were jealous and 
were always jumping up to shout and fight. 
So the Irishman used to wipe his hot, red face 
and call us bad names. He told the Lithuanian 
not to say these names to us, but Jonidas heard 
them, and in his saloon, where we all went 
down after the meeting when the Irishman was 
gone, Jonidas gave us free drinks and then 
told us the names. I will not write them here. 

One night that Irishman did not come and 
Jonidas saw his chance and took the chair. 
He talked very fine and we elected him Pres 
ident. We made him Treasurer, too. Down 
in the saloon he gave us free drinks and told 
us we must break away from the Irish graft 
ers. The next week he made us strike, all by 
himself. We met twice a day in his saloon 
and spent all of our money on drinks, and then 
the strike was over. I got out of this union 
after that. I had been working hard in the 
cattle killing room and I had a better job. I 
was called a cattle butcher now and I joined 
the Cattle Butchers Union. This union is 
honest and it has done me a great deal of 

It has raised my wages. The man who 
worked at my job before the union came was 
getting through the year an average of $9 a 


week. I am getting $11. In my first job I 
got $5 a week. The man who works there 
now gets $5.75. 

It has given me more time to learn to read 
and speak and enjoy life like an American. I 
never work now from 6 A. M to 9 p. M. and 
then be idle the next day. I work now from 
7 A. M to 5.30 p. M., and there are not so many 
idle days. The work is evened up. 

With more time and more money I live 
much better and I am very happy. So is Alex 
andria. She came a year ago and has learned 
to speak English already. Some of the 
women go to the big store the day they get 
here, when they have not enough sense to pick 
out the clothes that look right, but Alexandria 
waited three weeks till she knew, and so now 
she looks the finest of any woman in the dis 
trict. We have four nice rooms, which she 
keeps very clean, and she has flowers growing 
in boxes in the two front windows. We do not 
go much to church, because the church seems to 
be too slow. But we belong to a Lithuanian 
society that gives two picnics in summer and 
two big balls in winter, where we have a fine 
time. I go one night a week to the Lithu 
anian Concertina Club. On Sundays we go 
on the trolley out into the country. 

But we like to stay at home more now be 
cause we have a baby. When he grows up I 
will not send him to the Lithuanian Catholic 
school. They have only two bad rooms and 


two priests who teach only in Lithuanian 
from prayer books. I will send him to the 
American school, which is very big and good. 
The teachers there are Americans and they 
belong to the Teachers Labor Union, which 
has three thousand teachers and belongs to 
our Chicago Federation of Labor. I am sure 
that such teachers will give him a good chance. 

Qur union sent a committee to Springfield 
last year and they passed a law which prevents 
boys and girls below sixteen from working 
in the stockyards. 

We are trying to make the employers pay 
on Saturday night in cash. Now they pay in 
checks and the men have to get money the 
same night to buy things for Sunday, and the 
saloons cash checks by thousands. You have 
to take one drink to have the check cashed. 
It is hard to take one drink. 

The union is doing another good thing. It 
is combining all the nationalities. The night 
I joined the Cattle Butchers Union I was 
led into the room by a negro member. With 
me were Bohemians, Germans and Poles, and 
Mike Donnelly, the President, is an Irishman. 
He spoke to us in English and then three in 
terpreters told us what he said. We swore 
to be loyal to our union above everything else 
except the country, the city and the State to 
be faithful to each other to protect the 
women- workers to do our best to understand 
the history of the labor movement, and to do 


all we could to help it on. Since then I have 
gone there every two weeks and I help the 
movement by being an interpreter for the 
other Lithuanians who come in. That is why 
I have learned to speak and write good Eng 
lish. The others do not need me long. They 
soon learn English, too, and when they have 
done that they are quickly becoming Amer 

But the best thing the union does is to make 
me feel more independent. I do not have to 
pay to get a job and I cannot be discharged 
unless I am no good. For almost the whole 
30,000 men and women are organized now in 
some one of our unions and they all are 
directed by our central council. No man 
knows what it means to be sure of his job un 
less he has been fired like I was once without 
any reason being given. 

So this is why I joined the labor union. 
There are many better stories than mine, for 
my story is very common. There are thou 
sands of immigrants like me. Over 300,000 
immigrants have been organized in the last 
three years by the American Federation of 
Labor. The immigrants are glad to be or 
ganized if the leaders are as honest as Mike 
Donnelly is. You must get money to live 
well, and to get money you must combine. I 
cannot bargain alone with the Meat Trust. 
I tried it and it does not work. 




Sadie Frowne is the real name of the sixteen-year-old girl 
whose story follows. It was dictated by her to Mr. Sydney Reid, 
who has also procured many of the other life stories for this vol 
ume, and was afterward read over to herself and relatives and 
pronounced accurate in all respects. Brownsville is the Jewish 
sweatshop district of Brooklyn, N. Y. 

MY mother was a tall, handsome, dark com- 
plexioned woman with red cheeks, 
large brown eyes and a great quantity of 
jet black, wavy hair. She was well educated, 
being able to talk in Russian, German, Polish 
and French, and even to read English print, 
though of course she did not know what 
it meant. She kept a little grocer s shop in 
the little village where we lived at first. That 
was in Poland, somewhere on the frontier, and 
mother had charge of a gate between the 
countries, so that everybody who came through 
the gate had to show her a pass. She was 
much looked up to by the people, who used to 
come and ask her for advice. Her word was 
like law among them. 

She had a wagon in which she used to drive 
about the country, selling her groceries, and 


sometimes she worked in the fields with my 

The grocer s shop was only one story high, 
and had one window, with very small panes of 
glass. We had two rooms behind it, and were 
happy while my father lived, although we had 
to work very hard. By the time I was six years 
of age I was able to wash dishes and scrub 
floors, and by the time I was eight I attended 
to the shop while my mother was away driving 
her wagon or working in the fields with my 
father. She was strong and could work like 
a man. 

When I was a little more than ten years of 
age my father died. He was a good man and 
a steady worker, and we never knew what it 
was to be hungry while he lived. After he 
died troubles began, for the rent of our shop 
was about $6 a month and then there \vere food 
and clothes to provide. We needed little, it 
is true, but even soup, black bread and onions 
we could not always get. 

We struggled along till I was nearly thir 
teen years of age and quite handy at house 
work and shop-keeping, so far as I could learn 
them there. But we fell behind in the rent 
and mother kept thinking more and more that 
we should have to leave Poland and go across 
the sea to America where we heard it was 
much easier to make money. Mother wrote 
to Aunt Fanny, who lived in New York, and 
told her how hard it was to live in Poland, 


and Aunt Fanny advised her to come and 
bring me. I was out at service at this time 
and mother thought she would leave me as I 
had a good place and come to this country 
alone, sending for me afterward. But Aunt 
Fanny would not hear of this. She said we 
should both come at once, and she went around 
among our relatives in New York and took up 
a subscription for our passage. 

We came by steerage on a steamship in a 
very dark place that smelt dreadfully. There 
were hundreds of other people packed in with 
us, men, women and children, and almost all 
of them were sick. It took us twelve days to 
cross the sea, and we thought we should die, 
but at last the voyage was over, and we came 
up and saw the beautiful bay and the big 
woman with the spikes on her head and the 
lamp that is lighted at night in her hand ( God 
dess of Liberty) . 

Aunt Fanny and her husband met us at the 
gate of this country and were very good to 
us, and soon I had a place to live out ( domestic 
servant), while my mother got work in a fac 
tory making white goods. 

I was only a little over thirteen years of age 
and a greenhorn, so I received $9 a month and 
board and lodging, which I thought was doing 
well. Mother, who, as I have said, was very 
clever, made $9 a week on white goods, which 
means all sorts of underclothing, and is high 
class work. 



But mother had a very gay disposition. 
She liked to go around and see everything, 
and friends took her about New York at night 
and she caught a bad cold and coughed and 
coughed. She really had hasty consumption, 
but she didn t know it, and I didn t know it, 
and she tried to keep on working, but it was no 
use. She had not the strength. Two doctors 
attended her, but they could do nothing, and 
at last she died and I was left alone. I had 
saved money while out at service, but mother s 
sickness and funeral swept it all away and now 
I had to begin all over again. 

Aunt Fanny had always been anxious for 
me to get an education, as I did not know how 
to read or write, and she thought that was 
wrong. Schools are different in Poland 
from what they are in this country, and I was 
always too busy to learn to read and write. So 
when mother died I thought I would try to 
learn a trade and then I could go to school at 
night and learn to speak the English language 

So I went to work in Allen street (Man 
hattan) in what they call a sweatshop, making 
skirts by machine. I was new at the work and 
the foreman scolded me a great deal. 

" Now, then," he would say, " this place is 
not for you to be looking around in. At 
tend to your work. That is what you have 
to do. 

I did not know at first that you must not 


look around and talk, and I made many mis 
takes with the sewing, so that I was often 
called a " stupid animal." But I made $4 a 
week by working six days in the week. For 
there are two Sabbaths here our own Sab 
bath, that comes on a Saturday, and the Chris 
tian Sabbath that comes on Sunday. It is 
against our law to work on our own Sabbath, 
so we work on their Sabbath. 

In Poland I and my father and mother used 
to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath, but 
here the women don t go to the synagogue 
much, though the men do. They are shut up 
working hard all the week long and when the 
Sabbath comes they like to sleep long in bed 
and afterward they must go out where they 
can breathe the air. The rabbis are strict here, 
but not so strict as in the old country. 

I lived at this time with a girl named Ella, 
who worked in the same factory and made $5 
a week. We had the room all to ourselves, 
paying $1.50 a week for it, and doing light 
housekeeping. It was in Allen street, and the 
window looked out of the back, which was 
good, because there was an elevated railroad in 
front, and in summer time a great deal of dust 
and dirt came in at the front windows. We 
were on the fourth story and could see all that 
was going on in the back rooms of the houses 
behind us, and early in the morning the sun 
used to come in our window. 

We did our cooking on an oil stove, and 


lived well, as this list of our expenses for one 
week will show: 


Tea $0.06 

Cocoa 10 

Bread and rolls 40 

Canned vegetables 20 

Potatoes 10 

Milk 21 

Fruit 20 

Butter 15 

Meat 60 

Fish 15 

Laundry 25 

Total $2.42 

Add rent . 1.50 

Grand total $3.92 

Of course, we could have lived cheaper, but 
we are both fond of good things and ^ felt that 
we could afford them. w- *t*~*f~* 

We paid 18 cents for a half pound of tea 
so as to get it good, and it lasted us three 
weeks, because we had cocoa for breakfast. 
We paid 5 cents for six rolls and 5 cents a loaf 
for bread, which was the best quality. Oat 
meal cost us 10 cents for three and one-half 
pounds, and we often had it in the morning, 
or Indian meal porridge in the place of it, 
costing about the same. Half a dozen eggs 
cost about 13 cents on an average, and we 


could get all the meat we wanted for a good 
hearty meal for 20 cents two pounds of 
chops, or a steak, or a bit of veal, or a neck of 
lamb something like that. Fish included 
butter fish, porgies, codfish and smelts, aver 
aging about 8 cents a pound. 

Some people who buy at the last of the mar 
ket, when the men with the carts want to go 
home, can get things very cheap, but they are 
likely to be stale, and we did not often do that 
with fish, fresh vegetables, fruit, milk or meat. 
Things that kept well we did buy that way and 
got good bargains. I got thirty potatoes for 
10 cents one time, though generally I could 
not get more than fifteen of them for that 
amount. Tomatoes, onions and cabbages, too, 
we bought that way and did well, and we found 
a factory where we could buy the finest broken 
crackers for 3 cents a pound, and another 
place where we got broken candy for 10 cents 
a pound. Our cooking was done on an oil 
stove, and the oil for the stove and the lamp 
cost us 10 cents a week. 

It cost me $2 a week to live, and I had a 
dollar a week to spend on clothing and pleas 
ure, and saved the other dollar. I went to 
night school, but it was hard work learning 
at first as I did not know much English. 

Two years ago I came to Brownsville, 

where so many of my people are, and where I 

have friends. I got work in a factory making 

underskirts all sorts of cheap underskirts, 



like cotton and calico for the summer and 
woolen for the winter, but never the silk, satin 
or velvet underskirts. I earned $4.50 a week 
and lived on $2 a week, the same as before. 

I got a room in the house of some friends 
who lived near the factory. I pay $1 a week 
for the room and am allowed to do light house 
keeping that is, cook my meals in it. I get 
my own breakfast in the morning, just a cup 
of coffee and a roll, and at noon time I come 
home to dinner and take a plate of soup and a 
slice of bread with the lady of the house. My 
food for a week costs a dollar, just as it did 
in Allen street, and I have the rest of my 
money to do as I like with. I am earning 
$5.50 a week now, and will probably get 
another increase soon. 

It isn t piecework in our factory, but one is 
paid by the amount of work done just the 
same. So it is like piecework. All the hands 
get different amounts, some as low as $3.50 
and some of the men as high as $16 a week. 
The factory is in the third story of a brick 
building. It is in a room twenty feet long 
and fourteen broad. There are fourteen 
machines in it. I and the daughter of the 
people with whom I live work two of these 
machines. The other operators are all men, 
some young and some old. 

At first a few of the young men were rude. 
When they passed me they would touch my 
hair and talk about my eyes and my red 


cheeks, and make jokes. I cried and said that 
if they did not stop I would leave the place. 
The boss said that that should not be, that no 
one must annoy me. Some of the other men 
stood up for me, too, especially Henry, who 
said two or three times that he wanted to fight. 
Now the men all treat me very nicely. It was 
just that some of them did not know better, 
not being educated. 

Henry is tall and dark, and he has a small 
mustache. His eyes are brown and large. 
He is pale and much educated, having been to 
school. He knows a great many things and 
has some money saved. I think nearly $400. 
He is not going to be in a sweatshop all the 
time, but will soon be in the real estate busi 
ness, for a lawyer that knows him well has 
promised to open an office and pay him to 
manage it. 

Henry has seen me home every night for a 
long time and makes love to me. He wants 
me to marry him, but I am not seventeen yet, 
and I think that is too young. He is only 
nineteen, so we can wait. 

I have been to the fortune teller s three or 
four times, and she always tells me that though 
I have had such a lot of trouble I am to be very 
rich and happy. I believe her because she has 
told me so many things that have come true. 
So I will keep on working in the factory for a 
time. Of course it is hard, but I would have 
to work hard even if I was married. 


I get up at half-past five o clock every 
morning and make myself a cup of coffee on 
the oil stove. I eat a bit of bread and perhaps 
some fruit and then go to work. Often I get 
there soon after six o clock so as to be in good 
time, though the factory does not open till 
seven. I have heard that there is a sort of 
clock that calls you at the very time you want 
to get up, but I can t believe that because I 
don t see how the clock would know. 

At seven o clock we all sit down to our 
machines and the boss brings to each one the 
pile of work that he or she is to finish during 
the day, what they call in English their " stint." 
This pile is put down beside the machine and 
as soon as a skirt is done it is laid on the other 
side of the machine. Sometimes the work is 
not all finished by six o clock and then the one 
who is behind must work overtime. Some 
times one is finished ahead of time and gets 
away at four or five o clock, but generally we 
are not done till six o clock. 

The machines go like mad all day, because 
the faster you work the more money you get. 
Sometimes in my haste I get my finger caught 
and the needle goes right through it. It goes 
so quick, though, that it does not hurt much. I 
bind the finger up with a piece of cotton and 
go on working. We all have accidents like 
that. Where the needle goes through the nail 
it makes a sore finger, or where it splinters a 
bone it does much harm. Sometimes a finger 


has to come off. Generally, though, one can be 
cured by a salve. 

All the time we are working the boss walks 
about examining the finished garments and 
making us do them over again if they are not 
just right. So we have to be careful as well as 
swift. But I am getting so good at the work 
that within a year I will be making $7 a week, 
and then I can save at least $3.50 a week. I 
have over $200 saved now. 

The machines are all run by foot-power, 
and at the end of the day one feels so weak 
that there is a great temptation to lie right 
down and sleep. But you must go out and 
get air, and have some pleasure. So instead 
of lying down I go out, generally with Henry. 
Sometimes we go to Coney Island, where 
there are good dancing places, and sometimes 
we go to Ulmer Park to picnics. I am very 
fond of dancing, and, in fact, all sorts of 
pleasure. I go to the theater quite often, and 
like those plays that make you cry a great deal. 
" The Two Orphans " is good. Last time I 
saw it I cried all night because of the hard 
times that the children had in the play. I am 
going to see it again when it comes here. 

For the last two winters I have been going 
to night school. I have learned reading, writ 
ing and arithmetic. I can read quite well in 
English now and I look at the newspapers 
every day. I read English books, too, some- 


times. The last one that I read was " A Mad 
Marriage," by Charlotte Braeme. She s a 
grand writer and makes things just like real 
to you. You feel as if you were the poor girl 
yourself going to get married to a rich duke. 

I am going back to night school again this 
winter. Plenty of my friends go there. 
Some of the women in my class are more than 
forty years of age. Like me, they did not 
have a chance to learn anything in the old 
country. It is good to have an education; it 
makes you feel higher. Ignorant people are 
all low. People say now that I am clever and 
fine in conversation. 

We recently finished a strike in our business. 
It spread all over and the United Brotherhood 
of Garment Workers was in it. That takes 
in the cloakmakers, coatmakers, and all the 
others. We struck for shorter hours, and 
after being out four weeks won the fight. 
We only have to work nine and a half hours 
a day and we get the same pay as before. So 
the union does good after all in spite of w T hat 
some people say against it that it just takes 
our money and does nothing. 

I pay 25 cents a month to the union, but I 
do not begrudge that because it is for our ben 
efit. The next strike is going to be for a raise 
of wages, which we all ought to have. But 
though I belong to the Union I am not a So 
cialist or an Anarchist. I don t know exactly 


what those things mean. There is a little ex 
pense for charity, too. If any worker is in 
jured or sick we all give money to help. 

Some of the women blame me very much 
because I spend so much money on clothes. 
They say that instead of a dollar a week I 
ought not to spend more than twenty-five 
cents a week on clothes, and that I should save 
the rest. But a girl must have clothes if she 
is to go into good society at Ulmer Park or 
Coney Island or the theater. Those who 
blame me are the old country people who have 
old-fashioned notions, but the people who 
have been here a long time know better. A 
girl who does not dress well is stuck in a cor 
ner, even if she is pretty, and Aunt Fanny 
says that I do just right to put on plenty of 

I have many friends and we often have 
jolly parties. Many of the young men like 
to talk to me, but I don t go out with any ex 
cept Henry. 

Lately he has been urging me more and 
more to get married but I think I ll wait. 




Rocco Corresca is the official name of the young bootblack 
who is the hero of this chapter, although he is known to most 
of his friends and patrons as "Joe." He claims that he has 
always been called Rocco but that the name Corresca was given 
him when he went aboard the ship that brought him to America. 
It was thus entered on the steerage list and he has since kept it. 

WHEN I was a very small boy I lived in 
Italy in a large house with many other 
small boys, who were all dressed alike and were 
taken care of by some nuns. It was a good 
place, situated on the side of the mountain, 
where grapes were growing and melons and 
oranges and plums. 

They taught us our letters and how to pray 
and say the catechism, and we worked in the 
fields during the middle of the day. We 
always had enough to eat and good beds to 
sleep in at night, and sometimes there were 
feast days, when we marched about wearing 

Those were good times and they lasted till 
I was nearly eight years of age. Then an 
old man came and said he was my grand 
father. He showed some papers and cried 


over me and said that the money had come 
at last and now he could take me to his 
beautiful home. He seemed very glad to 
see me and after they looked at his papers 
he took me away and we went to the big 
city Naples He kept talking about his 
beautiful house, but when we got there it was 
a dark cellar that he lived in and I did not 
like it at all. Very rich people were on the 
first floor. They had carriages and servants 
and music and plenty of good things to eat, 
but we were down below in the cellar and had 
nothing. There were four other boys in the 
cellar and the old man said they were all my 
brothers. All were larger than I and they 
beat me at first till one day Francesco said that 
they should not beat me any more, and then 
Paolo, who was the largest of all, fought him 
till Francesco drew a knife and gave him a cut. 
Then Paolo, too, got a knife and said that 
he would kill Francesco, but the old man 
knocked them both down with a stick and took 
their knives away and gave them beatings. 

Each morning we boys all went out to beg 
and we begged all day near the churches and 
at night near the theaters, running to the car 
riages and opening the doors and then getting 
in the way of the people so that they had to 
give us money or walk over us. The old man 
often watched us and at night he took all the 
money, except when we could hide something. 

We played tricks on the people, for when 


we saw some coming that we thought were 
rich I began to cry and covered my face and 
stood on one foot, and the others gathered 
around me and said : 

"Don t cry! Don t cry!" 

Then the ladies would stop and ask: " What 
is he crying about? What is the matter, little 
boy? " 

Francesco or Paolo would answer: "He is 
very sad because his mother is dead and they 
have laid her in the grave." 

Then the ladies would give me money and 
the others would take most of it from me. 

The old man told us to follow the Ameri 
cans and the English people, as they were all 
rich, and if we annoyed them enough they 
would give us plenty of money. He taught 
us that if a young man was walking with a 
young woman he would always give us silver 
because he would be ashamed to let the young 
woman see him give us less. There w r as also 
a great church where sick people were cured 
by the saints, and when they came out they 
were so glad that they gave us money. 

Begging was not bad in the summer time 
because we went all over the streets and there 
was plenty to see, and if we got much money 
we could spend some buying things to eat. 
The old man knew we did that. He used to 
feel us and smell us to see if we had eaten any 
thing, and he often beat us for eating when we 
had not eaten. 



Early in the morning we had breakfast of 
black bread rubbed over with garlic or with a 
herring to give it a flavor. The old man 
would eat the garlic or the herring himself, 
but he would rub our bread with it, which he 
said was as good. He told us that boys should 
not be greedy and that it was good to fast and 
that all the saints had fasted. He had a fig 
ure of a saint in one corner of the cellar and 
prayed night and morning that the saint would 
help him to get money. He made us pray, 
too, for he said that it was good luck to be 

We used to sleep on the floor, but often we 
could not sleep much because men came in 
very late at night and played cards with the 
old man. He sold them wine from a barrel 
that stood on one end of the table that was 
there, and if they drank much he won their 
money. One night he won so much that he 
was glad and promised the saint some candles 
for his altar in the church. But that was to 
get more money. Two nights after that the 
same men who had lost the money came back 
and said that they wanted to play again. 
They were very friendly and laughing, but 
they won all the money and the old man said 
they were cheating. So they beat him and 
went away. When he got up again he took 
a stick and knocked down the saint s figure 
and said that he would give no more candles. 

I was with the old man for three years. I 


don t believe that he was my grandfather, 
though he must have known something about 
me because he had those papers. 

It was very hard in the winter time for we 
had no shoes and we shivered a great deal. 
The old man said that we were no good, that 
we were ruining him, that we did not bring in 
enough money. He told me that I was fat 
and that people would not give money to fat 
beggars. He beat me, too, because I didn t 
like to steal, as I had heard it was wrong. 

" Ah! " said he, " that is what they taught 
you at that place, is it? To disobey your 
grandfather that fought with Garibaldi! 
That is a fine religion! " 

The others all stole as well as begged, but 
I didn t like it and Francesco didn t like it 

Then the old man said to me : " If you don t 
want to be a thief you can be a cripple. That 
is an easy life and they make a great deal of 

I was frightened then, and that night I 
heard him talking to one of the men that came 
to see him. He asked how much he would 
charge to make me a good cripple like those 
that crawl about the church. They had a dis 
pute, but at last they agreed and the man said 
that I should be made so that people would 
shudder and give me plenty of money. 

I was much frightened, but I did not make 
a sound and in the morning I went out to beg 


with Francesco. I said to him: "I am going 
to run away. I don t believe Tony is my 
grandfather. I don t believe that he fought 
for Garibaldi, and I don t want to be a cripple, 
no matter how much money the people may 

Where will you go? " Francesco asked me. 

"I don t know," I said; "somewhere." 

He thought awhile and then he said: " I will 
go, too." 

So we ran away out of the city and begged 
from the country people as we went along. 
We came to a village down by the sea and a 
long way from Naples and there we found 
some fishermen and they took us aboard their 
boat. We were with them five years, and 
though it was a very hard life we liked it well 
because there was always plenty to eat. Fish 
do not keep long and those that we did not 
sell we ate. 

The chief fisherman, whose name was Cigu- 
ciano, had a daughter, Teresa, who was very 
beautiful, and though she was two years 
younger than I, she could cook and keep 
house quite well. She was a kind, good girl 
and he was a good man. When we told him 
about the old man who told us he was our 
grandfather, the fisherman said he was an old 
rascal who should be in prison for life. 
Teresa cried much when she heard that he was 
going to make me a cripple. Ciguciano said 
that all the old man had taught us was wrong 


that it was bad to beg, to steal and to tell lies. 
He called in the priest and the priest said the 
same thing and was very angry at the old man 
in Naples, and he taught us to read and write 
in the evenings. He also taught us our duties 
to the church and said that the saints were 
good and would only help men to do good 
things, and that it was a wonder that lightning 
from heaven had not struck the old man dead 
when he knocked down the saint s figure. 

We grew large and strong with the fisher 
man and he told us that we were getting too 
big for him, that he could not afford to pay us 
the money that we were worth. He was a 
fine, honest man one in a thousand. 

Now and then I had heard things about 
America that it was a far-off country where 
everybody was rich and that Italians went 
there and made plenty of money, so that they 
could return to Italy and live in pleasure ever 
after. One day I met a young man who 
pulled out a handful of gold and told me he 
had made that in America in a few days. 

I said I should like to go there, and he told 
me that if I went he would take care of me. 
and see that I was safe. I told Francesco and 
he wanted to go, too. So we said good-bye to 
our good friends. Teresa cried and kissed us 
both and the priest came and shook our hands 
and told us to be good men, and that no matter 
where we went God and his saints were always 
near us and that if we lived well we should all 


meet again in heaven. We cried, too, for it 
was our home, that place. Ciguciano gave us 
money and slapped us on the back and said 
that we should be great. But he felt bad, 
too, at seeing us go away after all that time. 

The young man took us to a big ship and 
got us work away down where the fires are. 
We had to carry coal to the place where it 
could be thrown on the fires. Francesco and 
I were very sick from the great heat at first 
and lay on the coal for a long time, but they 
threw water on us and made us get up. We 
could not stand on our feet well, for every 
thing was going around and we had no 
strength. We said that we wished we had 
stayed in Italy no matter how much gold there 
was in America. We could not eat for three 
days and could not do much w r ork. Then we 
got better and sometimes we went up above 
and looked about. There was no land any 
where and we were much surprised. How 
could the people tell where to go when there 
was no land to steer by? 

We were so long on the water that we be 
gan to think we should never get to America 
or that, perhaps, there was not any such place, 
but at last we saw land and came up to New 

We were glad to get over without giving 

money, but I have heard since that we should 

have been paid for our work among the coal 

and that the young man who had sent us got 



money for it. We were all landed on an island 
and the bosses there said that Francesco and I 
must go back because we had not enough 
money, but a man named Bartolo came up 
and told them that we were brothers and he 
was our uncle and would take care of us. He 
brought two other men who swore that they 
knew us in Italy and that Bartolo was our 
uncle. I had never seen any of them before, 
but even then Bartolo might be my uncle, so 
I did not say anything. The bosses of the 
island let us go out with Bartolo after he had 
made the oath. 

We came to Brooklyn, New York, to a 
wooden house in Adams street that was full 
of Italians from Naples. Bartolo had a room 
on the third floor and there were fifteen men in 
the room, all boarding with Bartolo. He did 
the cooking on a stove in the middle of the 
room and there were beds all around the sides, 
one bed above another. It was very hot in the 
room, but we were soon asleep, for we were 
very tired. 

The next morning, early, Bartolo told us 
to go out and pick rags and get bottles. He 
gave us bags and hooks and showed us the ash 
barrels. On the streets where the fine houses 
are the people are very careless and put out 
good things, like mattresses and umbrellas, 
clothes, hats and boots. We brought all these 
to Bartolo and he made them new again and 
sold them on the sidewalk; but mostly we 


brought rags and bones. The rags we had to 
wash in the back yard and then we hung them 
to dry on lines under the ceiling in our room. 
The bones we kept under the beds till Bartolo 
could find a man to buy them. 

Most of the men in our room worked at dig 
ging the sewer. Bartolo got them the work 
and they paid him about one-quarter of their 
wages. Then he charged them for board and 
he bought the clothes for them, too. So they 
got little money after all. 

Bartolo was always saying that the rent of 
the room was so high that he could not make 
anything, but he was really making plenty. 
He was what they call a padrone and is now a 
very rich man. The men that were living 
with him had just come to the country and 
could not speak English. They had all been 
sent by the young man we met in Italy. Bar 
tolo told us all that we must work for him 
and that if we did not the police would come 
and put us in prison. 

He gave us very little money, and our 
clothes were some of those that were found on 
the street. Still we had enough to eat and we 
had meat quite often, which we never had in 
Italy. Bartolo got it from the butcher the 
meat that he could not sell to the other people 
but it was quite good meat. Bartolo cooked 
it in the pan while we all sat on our beds in the 
evening. Then he cut it into small bits and 
passed the pan around, saying : 


"See what I do for you and yet you are 
not glad. I am too kind a man, that is why I 
am so poor." 

We were with Bartolo nearly a year, but 
some of our countrymen who had been in the 
place a long time said that Bartolo had no 
right to us and we could get work for a dollar 
and a half a day, which, when you make it 
lire (reckoned in the Italian currency) is very 
much. So we went away one day to Newark 
and got work on the street. Bartolo came 
after us and make a great noise, but the boss 
said that if he did not go away soon the police 
would have him. Then he went, saying that 
there was no justice in this country. 

We paid a man five dollars each for getting 
us the work and we were with that boss for six 
months. He was Irish, but a good man and 
he gave us our money every Saturday night. 
We lived much better than with Bartolo, and 
when the work was done we each had nearly 
$200 saved. Plenty of the men spoke Eng 
lish and they taught us, and we taught them 
to read and write. That was at night, for we 
had a lamp in our room, and there were only 
five other men who lived in that room with us. 

We got up at half -past five o clock every 
morning and made coffee on the stove and had 
a breakfast of bread and cheese, onions, garlic 
and red herrings. We went to work at seven 
o clock and in the middle of the day we had 
soup and bread in a place where we got it for 


two cents a plate. In the evenings we had a 
good dinner with meat of some kind and pota 
toes. We got from the butcher the meat that 
other people would not buy because they said 
it was old, but they don t know what is good. 
We paid four or five cents a pound for it and 
it was the best, though I have heard of people 
paying sixteen cents a pound. 

When the Newark boss told us that there 
was no more work Francesco and I talked 
about what we would do and we went back 
to Brooklyn to a saloon near Hamilton Ferry 
where we got a job cleaning it out and slept in 
a little room upstairs. There was a boot 
black named Michael on the corner and when 
I had time I helped him and learned the busi 
ness. Francesco cooked the lunch in the saloon 
and he, too, worked for the bootblack and we 
were soon able to make the best polish. 

Then we thought we would go into business 
and we got a basement on Hamilton avenue, 
near the Ferry, and put four chairs in it. We 
paid $75 for the chairs and all the other things. 
We had tables and looking glasses there and 
curtains. We took the papers that have the 
pictures in and made the place high toned, 
Outside we had a big sign that said: 




Men that did not want to pay ten cents 
could get a good shine for five cents, but it was 
not an oil shine. We had two boys helping us 
and paid each of them fifty cents a day. The 
rent of the place was $20 a month, so the ex 
penses were very great, but we made money 
from the beginning. We slept in the base 
ment, but got our meals in the saloon till we 
could put a stove in our place, and then Fran 
cesco cooked for us all. That would not do, 
though, because some of our customers said 
that they did not like to smell garlic and onions 
and red herrings. I thought that was strange, 
but we had to do what the customers said. So 
we got the woman who lived upstairs to give us 
our meals and paid her $1.50 a week each. 
She gave the boys soup in the middle of the 
day five cents for two plates. 

We remembered the priest, the friend of 
Ciguciano, and what he had said to us about 
religion, and as soon as we came to the country 
we began to go to the Italian church. The 
priest we found here was a good man, but he 
asked the people for money for the church. 
The Italians did not like to give because they 
said it looked like buying religion. The priest 
says it is different here from Italy because all 
the churches there are what they call endowed, 
while here all they have is what the people 
give. Of course I and Francisco understand 
that, but the Italians who cannot read and 


write shake their heads and say that it is wrong 
for a priest to want money. 

We had said that when we saved $1,000 each 
we would go back to Italy and buy a farm, 
but now that the time is coming we are so busy 
and making so much money that we think we 
will stay. We have opened another parlor 
near South Ferry, in New York. We have 
to pay $30 a month rent, but the business is 
very good. The boys in this place charge 
sixty cents a day because there is so much 

At first we did not know much of this coun 
try, but by and by we learned. There are 
here plenty of Protestants who are heretics, 
but they have a religion, too. Many of the 
finest churches are Protestant, but they have 
no saints and no altars, which seems strange. 

These people are without a king such as 
ours in Italy. It is what they call a Republic, 
as Garibaldi wanted, and every year in the fall 
the people vote. They wanted us to vote last 
fall, but we did not. A man came and said 
that he would get us made Americans for fifty 
cents and then we could get two dollars for 
our votes. I talked to some of our people and 
they told me that we should have to put a 
paper in a box telling who we wanted to gov 
ern us. 

I went with five men to the court and when 
they asked me how long I had been in the 
country I told them two years. Afterward 


my countrymen said I was a fool and would 
never learn politics. 

You should have said you were five years 
here and then we would swear to it," was what 
they told me. 

I and Francesco are to be Americans in 
three years. The court gave us papers and 
said we must wait and we must be able to read 
some things and tell who the ruler of the coun 
try is. 

There are plenty of rich Italians here, men 
who a few years ago had nothing and now 
have so much money that they could not count 
all their dollars in a week. The richest ones 
go away from the other Italians and live with 
the Americans. 

We have joined a club and have much pleas 
ure in the evenings. The club has rooms 
down in Sackett street and we meet many 
people and are learning new things all the 
time. We were very ignorant when we came 
here, but now we have learned much. 

On Sundays we get a horse and carriage 
from the grocer and go down to Coney Island. 
We go to the theaters often, and other even 
ings we go to the houses of our friends and 
play cards. 

I am now nineteen years of age and have 
$700 saved. Francesco is twenty-one and has 
about $900. We shall open some more par 
lors soon. I know an Italian who was a boot 
black ten years ago and now bosses bootblacks 


all over the city, who has so much money that 
if it was turned into gold it would weigh more 
than himself. 

Francesco and I have a room to ourselves 
and some people call us " swells." Ciguciano 
said that we should be great men. Francesco 
bought a gold watch with a gold chain as thick 
as his thumb. He is a very handsome fellow 
and I think he likes a young lady that he met 
at a picnic out at Ridgewood. 

I often think of Ciguciano and Teresa. He 
is a good man, one in a thousand, and she was 
very beautiful. Maybe I shall write to them 
about coming to this country. 




This chapter is contributed by a Spartan now living in a 
suburb near New York City. 

I WAS born about forty years ago in a 
little hamlet among the mountains of 
Laconia in Greece. There were only about 
200 people in this place, and they lived in 
stone huts or cottages, some of which were 
two stories high, but most of them only one 
story. The people were shepherds or small 
farmers, with the exception of the priest and 

Two of tha houses pretended to the char 
acter of village stores, but they kept only the 
simplest, cheapest things, and as a general 
rule, when we wanted to buy anything we had 
to go down to Sparta, the chief town of our 
State, which was two hours walk away from 
our village. There was not even a blacksmith 
shop in our town. 

But the people did very well without shops. 
They made almost everything for themselves. 
The inside of the cottage consisted of one 
large room with a board floor. Sometimes 
there were partitions inside the cottage, mak 
ing several rooms, but everything was very 


simple. The fireplace at one end of the room 
was large and open; beds were made of boards 
covered with hay, and stools and tables com 
prised about all the remainder of the furniture. 
Cooking was done on an iron tripod with the 
fire underneath. 

Cotton goods we bought in Sparta, but we 
seldom bought anything else. We made ail 
our own clothing, shearing the sheep, washing 
the wool, carding, spinning and weaving by 
hand as they did in the time of Homer. We 
made our own butter and our own wine, 
ground our own wheat and oats into flour and 
meal and did our own baking. 

Our farms varied in size from ten to forty 
acres, and we raised on them such things as are 
raised here in America all the grains and most 
of the fruits and vegetables. We plowed 
with oxen, thrashed with flails, winnowed by 
hand, and ground our grain in a mortar. 

We had very little money, and so little use 
for money that the currency might almost as 
well have been the iron sort of our remote 

There was a little school in the town there 
are schools all over Greece now and most of 
the people could read and write, so they were 
not entirely ignorant; yet they had small 
knowledge of the world, and there were many, 
especially among the women, who knew almost 
nothing of what lay beyond the boundaries of 
their farms. 



True, by climbing Mount Taygetos, where 
the Spartans used to expose their children not 
physically perfect, one could get a wide view 
of the surrounding sea with its ships and the 
shore with its cities, but the top of Taygetos 
was a day s journey from our village, and few 
of us had time or inclination to make the trip. 

All people who were able worked from sun 
rise to sunset, the men on their farms or with 
the sheep, the women in the houses, spinning, 
weaving, making clothes or baking. If they 
did not know much about the great world, they 
also cared less. Now and then some one went 
down to Sparta and came home filled with its 
wonders, for Sparta has 15,000 inhabitants 
and is quite a bright little modern city, with 
horse cars, street gas lamps and a mayor. 

Narrow as our lives might be considered by 
Americans, there was plenty to interest us in 
the success or failure of our crops and our 
little plans, and, considering matters from the 
standpoint of our wants and our needs, we 
were certainly prosperous and happy. Most 
of us eat only one meal a day, but it was a 
hearty, healthy meal, and though we knew 
that some of the richer people ate two, the 
fashion did not commend itself to us. Like 
all Greeks, we were naturally inclined to tem 
perance. There was no gluttony and no 
drunkenness, although we had plenty of good 
strong wine. 

Forty days of the year were saints days, 


and on those we feasted and did no work. 
We dressed in our best clothes and, gathering 
in one of the best houses, we danced to the 
music of the violin and guitar. 

Sometimes there came an election, and then 
the men always carried rifles with them to the 
polling places, and around their waists were 
sashes stuck full of daggers and pistols, mak 
ing them look wild and dangerous. But really 
there was seldom any fighting. In the first 
place, there were soldiers around the polling 
places and the elections were honest; in the 
second place, the armed peasants stayed sober, 
and in the third place, there was no stump 
speaking such as here, and no newspaper at 
tacks, where the candidate of the opposite 
party is called a robber and accused of all 
manner of crimes. Feeling ran high at our 
elections and partisanship was bitter, but did 
not often lead to fights, because there was no 
speaking, no incitement. 

The people are naturally very peaceful. 
They carry arms because it is their custom, 
coming down from the times when the Turks 
were in the country and the Greeks had to 
retire into the mountains and maintain con 
stant watch in order to save themselves and 
their families from Turkish outrage and 

I don t know on what lines the parties were 
drawn, or what principles they advocated. I 



think that the difference was just that some 
were in power and some were out, and that 
those who were out wanted to get in. 

All loved our king and the royal family. 
Next to God we revered the king, and his 
whole family shared our love for him. Greeks 
are very democratic, but the members of this 
royal family are fit to be the first citizens in a 
pure democracy they have done so much for 
the country and for all the people. 

As I said, the people, in spite of their arms, 
are very peaceful. There is no brigandage, 
and murder in our locality occurred not more 
than once in ten years. There used to be a 
great deal of what was called brigandage in 
Turkish times, but it has all passed away. 
When the Turks retired, two-thirds of the 
land which had belonged to Turks came into 
the hands of the nation, and since that time 
the class of people who were formerly robbed 
and harried and oppressed until they were 
driven into brigandage has been encouraged 
to take to agriculture. Now there is no more 
Government land. The people have bought 
it all up, and although they have little money 
they are tolerably happy and prosperous. 

On Sundays in our little village we dressed 
in our best clothes, and went to the church, 
where we heard the old priest, whom we all 
respected. There was only one church there, 
the Greek Orthodox, and though religion was 


free and a man could worship as he pleased, or 
not worship at all, there were no dissenters 
among us. 

At the same time there was little supersti 
tion, to the best of my knowledge. Few be 
lieved in ghosts or fairies, or any sort of super 
natural appearances; nor did they believe in 
modern miracles, and our respect for the saints 
was for men who had laid down their lives for 
Christianity. We had no sacred relics that 
miraculously restored health, and knew of 

The only encounter with the supernatural 
that I ever had occurred when I was about ten 
years of age. 

My grandmother needed a pound of wool to 
finish some sort of blanket she was weaving, 
and she sent me to the house of a neighbor, 
who lived far away. I set out riding a jackass 
and followed by a dog. I had not gone far 
when I met a little girl carrying a cat. 

At the sight of my dog, down jumped the 
cat and ran for her life ; the dog dashed after 
her, I dashed after dog, the little girl after 
me. The only one who maintained his dignity 
was the jackass. Cat, dog and myself all fell 
into a stream, and when I emerged and pre 
sented the cat to the little girl I was dripping. 
She invited me to her house to dry, and there 
her mother fitted me out with the clothes of her 
little son, who had died a short time before. 
She said I looked just like him, and tearfully 


begged me to stay over night. I finally con 
sented as my grandmother would not expect 
me back the next day. 

She put me in the little boy s bed, and went 
away, after bidding me good night. I went 
to sleep immediately, but woke up later and 
was horrified to see a large, round eye glaring 
at me. It was very large, about ten inches in 
diameter. I tried to scream, but I could not, 
and my fear was increased by the sound of 
footsteps coming toward me. I was sure it 
was the dead boy coming to avenge my taking 
his clothes and bed. Finally I was able to 
speak, and I said : 

" Don t hurt me; I am going away, and I 
will not take the clothes with me." 

But the footsteps continued to come directly 
toward me. 

Then I jumped from my bed and desper 
ately grabbed at the approaching thing. I 
seized a hairy head and pair of horns, and was 
more frightened than ever, feeling sure that I 
had caught the devil. But when the woman 
and the little girl came in laughing, with a 
light, the devil turned into the pet goat, which 
used to play with the little boy. The round 
eye also turned into a mirror. 

Of the past of our country we knew little. 
We only knew that once Greece had been 
great, the light of the world, and we hoped 
that the time was coming when she would 
again resume her leadership of men. There 


were no ruins and no legends and traditions 
among us. 

The school in my little village had only four 
grades, and when I had gone through those I 
was sent to Sparta to the High School. There 
I continued my education much as an Amer 
ican boy would do. Greece has a fine system 
of schools, established by the Government. 

We had play in plenty. We played with 
marbles and tops and kites, and we practiced 
many of the classic sports, like running, and 
pitching flat stones at a mark, like quoits, or 
throwing the discus. We were great hands 
at wrestling, and in certain seasons of the year 
we hunted and shot partridges, rabbits and 

When I had finished in the High School, I 
went to Athens, to an uncle who was in the 
drug business. I worked for him for a few 
years, and then had to enter the army, where I 
spent two years in which there was nothing of 
particular interest. 

All these later years I had been hearing 
from America. An elder brother was there 
who had found it a fine country and was urg 
ing me to join him. Fortunes could easily 
be made, he said. I got a great desire to see 
it, and in one way and another I raised the 
money for fare 250 francs and set sail 
from the Piraeus, the old port of Athens, situ 
ated five miles from that city. The ship was a 
French liner of 6,000 tons, and I was a deck 


passenger, carrying my own food and sleeping 
on the boards as long as we were in the Medi 
terranean Sea, which was four days. 

As soon as we entered the ocean matters 
changed for the better. I got a berth and the 
ship supplied my food. Nothing extraordi 
nary occurred on the voyage and when I 
reached New York I got ashore without any 

New York astonished me by its size and 
magnificence, the buildings shooting up like 
mountain peaks, the bridge hanging in the 
sky, the crowds of ships and the elevated rail 
ways. I think that the elevated railways as 
tonished me more than anything else. 

I got work immediately as a push cart man. 
There was six of us in a company. We all 
lived together in two rooms down on Wash 
ington street and kept the push carts in the 
cellar. Five of us took out carts every day 
and one was buyer, whom we called boss. He 
had no authority over us; we were all free. 
At the end of our day s work we all divided 
up our money even, each man getting the 
same amount out of the common fund the 
boss no more than any other. 

That system prevails among all the push 
cart men in the City of New York practical 
communism, all sharing alike. The buyer is 
chosen by vote. 

The buyer goes to the markets and gets the 
stock for the next day, which is carried to the 


cellar in a wagon. Sometimes buying takes 
a long time, if the price of fruit is up, for the 
buyer has to get things as cheaply as possible. 
Sometimes when prices are down he buys 
enough for a week. He gets the fruit home 
before evening, and then it is ready for the 
next day. 

I found the push cart work not unpleasant, 
so far as the work itself was concerned. I 
began at nine o clock in the morning and quit 
about six o clock at night. I could not speak 
English and did not know enough to pay the 
police, so I was hunted when I tried to get 
the good place like Nassau Street, or near the 
Bridge entrance. Once a policeman struck 
me on the leg with his club so hard that I could 
not work for two weeks. That is wrong to 
strike like that a man who could not speak 

Push cart peddlers who pay the police, 
make $500 to $1,000 a year clear of board and 
all expenses, and actually save that amount in 
the bank; but those who don t pay the police 
make from $200 to $300 a year. All the men 
in the good places pay the police. Some pay 
$2 a day each and some $1 a day, and from 
that down to 25 cents. A policeman collects 
regularly, and we don t know what he does 
with the money, but, of course, we suspect. 
The captain passes by and he must know; the 
sergeant comes along and he must know. 

We don t care. It is better to pay and have 


the good place; we can afford to pay. One 
day I made free and clear $10.25 on eighteen 
boxes of cherries. That was the most I ever 
made in a day. That was after I paid $1 a 
day for a good place. 

There have been many attempts to organize 
us for political purposes, but all these have 
failed. We vote as we please, for the best 
man. No party owns us. 

I soon went on to Chicago and got work 
there from a countryman who kept a fruit 
store. He gave me $12 a month and my 
board, but he wouldn t teach me English. I 
got so I could say such words as " Cent each," 
" Five cents for three," " Ten cents a quart," 
but if I asked the boss the names of things he 
would say never mind, it was not good for me 
to learn English. 

I wrote home to my uncle in Athens to send 
me a Greek-English dictionary, and w r hen it 
came I studied it all the time and in three 
months I could speak English quite well. I 
did not spend a cent and soon found a better 
job, getting $17 a month and my board. In 
a little while I had $106 saved, and I opened a 
little fruit store of my own near the Academy 
of Music. 

One night after ten o clock my lamp went 
down very low and I wanted to fill it again. I 
had a five gallon can of kerosene and a five 
gallon can of gasolene standing together under 
the stall, and in the darkness I got out the can 


of gasolene. I filled the lamp while it was still 
burning. It exploded over- me and I ran out 
of the place all in flames. The people were 
just coming out of the Academy of Music 
when I rushed among them shouting. Men 
threw their overcoats about me and put out 
the flames, but I nearly lost my life. I was 
taken to a hospital, where I lay for four 
months. All my hair was burned off, my eye 
brows and the skin of my neck and head, and 
I was in great pain. 

Finally I was able to get out, and my land 
lord took charge of me and started me in busi 
ness again. 

He was a German; I think his name was 
Hackenbush. At any rate he was very kind, 
I had not had sense enough to get my store 
insured, and so had no money when I walked 
out of the hospital. My landlord stocked it 
for me with fruits, cigars and candies, and did 
all he could to put me on my feet, but I had 
bad luck and gave up. 

Then I left Chicago and went roaming, rid 
ing about on freight cars looking for work. 
I had twenty dollars in my pocket when I set 
out, but it was soon gone. I could get no 
work. I fell in with a gang of tramps, mostly 
Irish fellows; we rode generally in the ca 
booses of freight cars. They used to beg, 
but I said " No, I ll starve first." 

I slept at nights in cemeteries for fear of 
being arrested as a hobo if I slept in the parks, 


and for seven days I lived on eleven cents. 
On the eighth day I got a job carrying lumber 
on my shoulder. I worked two days at this 
and earned three dollars, but was so weak that 
I had to give it up. 

So I went on, riding on top of a freight 
car. There were three of us on top of that car, 
two lying down and one sitting up reading a 
paper. We came to a tunnel, and when we 
had passed through the man who was reading 
the paper was gone. -When the train made its 
next stop I and my companion went back and 
found the missing man lying dead on the track. 
That ended my riding on top of freight cars. 
I never tried it again. 

I got a job in a bicycle factory soon after 
this. It paid me nine dollars a week and I 
could save seven, so I soon had money again ; 
but when the war with Turkey broke out I 
thought I would go back and fight for Greece 
and I did, but the war was a disappointment. 
I was in several battles, such as they were, but 
no sooner were we soldiers ready to fight than 
we would all be ordered to go back. 

When the war was over I returned to this 
good country and became a citizen. I got down 
to business, worked hard and am worth about 
$50,000 to-day. I have fruit stores and con 
fectionery stores. 

There are about 10,000 Greeks in New 
York now, living in and about Roosevelt, Mad 
ison and Washington streets; about 200 of 


them are women. They all think this is a fine 
country. Most of them are citizens. Only 
about ten per cent, go home again, and of 
these many return to America, finding that 
they like their new home better than their old 

The Greeks here are almost all doing well, 
there are no beggars and no drunkards among 
them, and the worst vice they have is gam 

From Christmas till January 5 of each year 
there is great gambling in the Greek quarter, 
especially in the back rooms of the four res 
taurants. The police know all about it and it 
is allowed. Each of these restaurants takes in 
from $50 to $200 a night from gambling dur 
ing the Christmas celebration. I suppose the 
police . get their share. Poker is a favorite 
game, and other card games are played, thou 
sands of dollars changing hands among the 

That is our big spree, taking place once a 
year. Aside from that, we are very quiet and 
law abiding. 

The Greek push cart men are the Greek 
newcomers. They all save and they all get 
up. When they have a little money they open 
stores of their own, confectionery, flowers and 

We think that the push cart business is good 
for the citjfT^The fruit is fresh every day, 
and people get what they want as they pass 


along the street. When the push cart men 
finish selling dear to the people with plenty of 
money they go and sell cheap to the poor in 
the evenings. Plenty of fruit is a fine thing 
for health. 

The fruit here, though, is not as good to 
eat as it is in Greece. The reason is that here 
it is picked before it is ripe and lies in an ice 
house for weeks. That takes all the flavor, 
and so, though the fruit looks so fine, it has 
no good taste. The icebox is a bad thing. 
There is no ice to the fruit in Greece. 

We Greeks are doing well here, we are tak 
ing citizenship and we like this country; but 
the condition of the country we have left dis 
turbs us, and we would give all we possess, 
every cent, all our money and goods, to see 
Greece free. 

Greece, the country as it is to-day, has only 
2,500,000 inhabitants, but there are 18,000,000 
Greeks living in Turkey under virtual slavery. 
In the city of Constantinople three out of four 
inhabitants are Greeks. We want to see them 
all free. 

They are ready for freedom, they are edu 
cated. There are ten Greek schools, for every 
Turkish school in Turkey, and the people are 
intelligent. The American schools there have 
done great things, so it would be easy to set up 
free Greece again in all the country formerly 
ruled over from Constantinople before the 
coming of the Turks. 



That would have been done long ago were it 
not for the jealousy of European powers. 
Even as it is it must soon come the Turk in 
Europe is dying fast. 

In addition to the schools set up and main 
tained by the Greek Government and the 
Americans, there is another source of light in 
Greece. That is the returned emigrants. 
Everywhere in Greece now one meets men 
who have been in America and understand 
how happy a country may be. They have 
carried back American ways and ideas, and are 
Americanizing the whole country. In all the 
little towns and villages now English is 

Greeks are perhaps better fitted than any 
others in South Europe to enjoy freedom. 
They take politics seriously, and believe in vot 
ing for the best man. 

Free Greece must come soon, but in precisely 
what shape no one knows. There are so many 
things to be considered. Constantinople 
ought to be the capital, but Russia wants Con 
stantinople. Russia is jealous of Greece, as 
matters are now, because the patriarch head of 
her church is Greek and resides in Constanti 
nople. She would resist an extension of our 

Germany and Austria, also, look upon 
those parts of old Greece which are under 
Turkish sway with covetous eyes. When 


Turkey dies they will present themselves as 
the natural heirs. 

And yet, in spite of all, we Greeks feel that 
our country will rise again, happy and pros 
perous, free and glorious, standing once more 
as leader of the nations. 

How this will come we know not; but it 
will be so, and that within a generation. 




Axel Jarlson, the author of the following biography, is twenty- 
two years of age and a fine specimen of the large, strong, ener 
getic, blonde Norseman. He speaks good English and his story, 
written from an interview given on his way through New York 
to spend the Christmas holidays with his parents in the old coun 
try, is practically given in his own words. His family s experi 
ence resembles that of great numbers of his countrymen, who 
come here intending to return finally to the old country, but 
find themselves unconsciously Americanized. 

I CAN remember perfectly well the day 
when my elder brother, Gustaf, started 
for America. It was in April, 1891, and there 
was snow on the ground about our cottage, 
while the forest that covered the hills near by 
was still deep with snow. The roads were 
very bad, but my uncle Olaf , who had been to 
America often on the ships, said that this was 
the time to start, because work on the farms 
there would just be beginning. 

We were ten in the family, father and 
mother and eight children, and we had lived 
very happily in our cottage until the last year, 
when father and mother were both sick and 
we got into debt. Father had a little piece of 
land about two acres which he rented, and 
besides, he worked in the summer time for a 


farmer. Two of my sisters and three of my 
brothers also worked in the fields, but the pay 
was so very small that it was hard for us to get 
enough to eat. A good farm hand in our 
part of Sweden, which is 200 miles north of 
Stockholm and near the Baltic Sea, can earn 
about 100 kroner a season, and a krone^ is 27 
cents. But the winter is six months long, and 
most of that time the days are dark, except 
from ten o clock in the morning to four o clock 
in the afternoon. The only way our family 
could get money during the winter was by 
making something that could be sold in the 
market town, ten miles away. So my father 
and brothers did wood carving and cabinet 
making, and my mother and sisters knitted 
stockings, caps and mufflers and made home 
spun cloth, and also butter and cheese, for we 
owned two cows. 

But the Swedish people who have money 
hold on to it very tight, and often we took 
things to market and then had to bring them 
home again, for no one would buy. 

My uncle Olaf used to come to us between 
voyages, and he was all the time talking about 
America; what a fine place it was to make 
money in. He said that he would long ago 
have settled down on shore there, but that he 
had a mate s place on a ship and hoped some 
day to be captain. In America they gave you 
good land for nothing, and in two years you 
could be a rich man; and no one had to go in 


the army unless he wanted to. That was what 
my uncle told us. 

There was a school house to which I and 
two of my sisters went all the winter for edu 
cation is compulsory in Sweden and the 
schoolmaster told us one day about the great 
things that poor Swedes had done in America. 
They grew rich and powerful like noblemen 
and they even held Government offices. It 
was true, also, that no one had to go in the 
army unless he wanted to be a soldier. With 
us all the young men who are strong have to 
go in the army, because Sweden expects to 
have to fight Russia some day. The army 
takes the young men away from their work 
and makes hard times in the family. 

A man who had been living in America once 
came to visit the little village that was near 
our cottage. He wore gold rings set with 
jewels and had a fine watch. He said that 
food was cheap in America and that a man 
could earn nearly ten times as much there as 
in Sweden. He treated all the men to brand- 
vin, or brandy wine, as some call it, and there 
seemed to be no end to his money. 

It was after this that father and mother 
were both sick during all of one winter, and we 
had nothing to eat, except black bread and a 
sort of potato soup or gruel, with now and 
then a herring. We had to sell our cows and 
we missed the milk and cheese. 

So at last it was decided that my brother 


was to go to America, and we spent the last 
day bidding him good-bye, as if we should 
never see him again. My mother and sisters 
cried a great deal, and begged him to write; 
my father told him not to forget us in that far 
off country, but to do right and all would be 
well, and my uncle said that he would become 
a leader of the people. 

Next morning before daylight my brother 
and my uncle went away. They had twenty 
miles to walk to reach the railroad, which 
would take them to Gothenburg. My uncle 
had paid the money for the ticket which was 
to carry Gustaf to Minnesota. It cost a great 
deal about $90, I believe. 

In the following August we got our first 
letter from America. I can remember some 
parts of it, in which my brother said : 

I have work with a farmer who pays me 64 kroner a 
month, and my board. I send you 20 kroner, and 
will try to send that every month. This is a good 
country. It is like Sweden in some ways. The win 
ter is long, and there are some cold days, but every 
thing grows that we can grow in our country, and 
there is plenty. All about me are Swedes, who have 
taken farms and are getting rich. They eat white 
bread and plenty of meat. The people here do not 
work such long hours as in Sweden, but they work 
much harder, and they have a great deal of machin 
ery, so that the crop one farmer gathers will fill two 
big barns. One farmer, a Swede, made more than 
25,000 kroner on his crop last year. 


After that we got a letter every month 
from my brother. He kept doing better and 
better, and at last he wrote that a farm had 
been given to him by the Government. It 
was sixty acres of land, good soil, with plenty 
of timber on it and a river running alongside. 
He had two fine horses and a wagon and 
sleigh, and he was busy clearing the land. He 
wanted his brother, Eric, to go to him, but we 
could not spare Eric, and so Knut, the third 
brother, was sent. He helped Gustaf for two 
years, and then he took a sixty-acre farm. 
Both sent money home to us, and soon they 
sent tickets for Hilda and Christine, two of 
my sisters. 

People said that Hilda was very beautiful. 
She was eighteen years of age, and had long 
shining golden hair, red cheeks and blue eyes. 
She was merry and a fine dancer ; far the best 
among the girls in all the country round, and 
she could spin and knit grandly. 

She and Christine got work in families of 
Minneapolis, and soon were earning almost 
as much as my brothers had earned at first, 
and sending money to us. Hilda married a 
man who belonged to the Government of Min 
neapolis before she had lived there six months. 
He is a Swede, but has been away from home 
a long time. Hilda now went to live in a fine 
house, and she said in her letter that the only 
trouble she had was with shoes. In the coun 
try parts of Sweden they wear no shoes in the 


summer time, but in Minneapolis they wear 
them all the year round. 

Father and mother kept writing to the 
children in America that now they had made 
their fortunes they should come home and live, 
but they put it off. Once Gustaf did return to 
see us, but he hurried back again, because the 
people thought so much of him that they had 
made him sheriff of a county. So it would not 
do to be long away. 

I and my sister Helene came to this country 
together in 1899, Hilda having sent us the 
money, 600 kroner. We came over in the 
steerage from Gothenburg, on the west coast. 
The voyage wasn t so bad. They give people 
beds in the steerage now, and all their food, 
and it is very good food and well cooked. It 
took us twelve days to cross the sea, but we did 
not feel it long, as when people got over the 
sea sickness there was plenty of dancing, for 
most of those people in the steerage were 
Swedes and very pleasant and friendly. On 
fine days we could walk outside on the deck. 
Two men had concertinas and one had a violin. 

When we got to Minneapolis we found 
Hilda living in a large brick house, and she 
had two servants and a carriage. She cried 
with joy when she saw us, and bought us new 
clothes, because we were in homespun and no 
one wears that in Minneapolis. But she laid 
the homespun away in a chest and said that 
she would always keep it to remind her. 


I stayed with Hilda two weeks, and then 
went out to my brother Knut s farm, which is 
fifty miles northwest of Minneapolis. It was 
in August when I reached him, and I helped 
with the harvest and the threshing. He had 
built a log house, with six windows in it. It 
looked very much like the log house where my 
parents live in Sweden, only it was not painted 
red like theirs. 

I worked for my brother from August 1899, 
to March, 1901, at $16 a month, making $304, 
of which I spent only $12 in that time, as I 
had clothes. 

On the first day of March I went to a farm 
that I had bought for $150, paying $50 down. 
It was a bush farm, ten miles from my 
brother s place and seven miles from the near 
est cross roads store. A man had owned it 
and cleared two acres, and then fallen sick and 
the storekeeper got it for a debt and sold it to 
me. My brother heard of it and advised- me 
to buy it. 

I went on this land in company with a 
French Canadian named Joachim. He was 
part Indian, and yet was laughing all the time, 
very gay, very full of fun, and yet the best 
axman I ever saw. He wore the red trimmed 
white blanket overcoat of the Hudson Bay 
Company, with white blanket trousers and 
fancy moccasins, and a red sash around his 
waist and a capote that went over his head. 

We took two toboggans loaded with our 


goods and provisions, and made the ten-mile 
journey from my brother s house in three 
hours. The snow was eighteen inches deep on 
the level, but there was a good hard crust that 
bore us perfectly most of the way. The cold 
was about 10 below zero, but we were steaming 
when we got to the end of our journey. I 
wore two pairs of thick woolen stockings, with 
shoe-packs outside them the shoe-pack is a 
moccasin made of red sole leather, its top is of 
strong blanket; it is very warm and keeps out 
wet. I wore heavy underclothes, two woolen 
shirts, two vests, a pilot jacket and an over 
coat, a woolen cap and a fur cap. Each of us 
had about 300 pounds weight on his toboggan. 

Before this I had looked over my farm and 
decided where to build my house, so now I 
went straight to that place. It was the side of 
a hill that sloped southward to a creek that 
emptied into a river a mile away. 

We went into a pine grove about half way 
up the hill and picked out a fallen tree, with a 
trunk nearly five feet thick, to make one side 
of our first house. This tree lay from east to 
west. So we made a platform near the root 
on the south side by stamping the snow down 
hard. On top of this platform we laid spruce 
boughs a foot deep and covered the spruce 
boughs over with a rubber blanket. We cut 
poles, about twenty of them, and laid them 
sloping from the snow up to the top of the tree 
trunk. Over these we spread canvas, and over 


that again large pieces of oilcloth. Then we 
banked up the snow on back and side, built a 
fire in front in the angle made by the tree root, 
and, as we each had two pairs of blankets, 
we were ready for anything from a flood to a 
hurricane. We made the fire place of flat 
stones that we got near the top of the hill and 
kindled the fire with loose birch bark. We had 
a box of matches, and good fuel was all about 
us. Soon we had a roaring, fire going and a 
big heap of fuel standing by. We slung our 
pot by means of a chain to a pole that rested 
one end on the fallen tree trunk and the other 
on the crotch of a small tree six feet away ; we 
put the pan on top of the fire and used the cof 
fee or tea pot the same way we made tea 
and coffee in the same pot. We had brought 
to camp : 


Cornmeal, 25 pounds $0.47 

Flour, 100 pounds 2.00 

Lard, 10 pounds 1.00 

Butter, 10 pounds 1.80 

Codfish, 25 pounds 2.25 

Ham, 12 pounds 1.20 

Potatoes, 120 pounds 1.40 

Rice, 25 pounds 2.15 

Coffee, 10 pounds 2.75 

Bacon, 30 pounds 1.50 

Herrings, 200 1.75 

Molasses, 2 gallons 60 

Axes, 3 3.55 

Toboggans, 2 3.25 



Pair blankets $5.00 

Pot, coffee pot, frying pan 1.60 

Knives, 2 75 

Salt, pepper, mustard 15 

Tea, 9 pounds 2.70 

Matches 10 

Pickax 1.25 

Spades, 2 3.00 

Hoes, 2 2.00 

Sugar, 30 pounds 1.80 

Snow shoes, 1 pair 1.75 

Gun 9.00 

Powder and shot 65 

Total $55.42 

" Jake," as we all called the Frenchman, was 
a fine cook. He made damper in the pan, 
and we ate it swimming with butter along with 
slices of bacon and some roast potatoes and 
tea. " Jake," like all the lumbermen, made 
tea very strong. So did I, but I didn t like 
the same kind of tea. The backwoodsmen 
have got used to a sort of tea that bites like 
acid; it is very bad, but they won t take any 
other. I liked a different sort. So as we 
couldn t have both, we mixed the two together. 

The sun went down soon after four o clock, 
but the moon rose, the stars were very big and 
bright and the air quite still and so dry that no 
one could tell it was cold. "Jake" had 
brought a fiddle with him and he sat in the 
doorway of our house and played and sang 


silly French Canadian songs, and told stories 
in his own language. I could not understand 
a word he said, but he didn t care ; he was talk 
ing to the fire and the woods as much as to me. 
He got up and acted some of the stories and 
made me laugh, though I didn t understand. 
We went to bed soon after eight o clock^ and 
slept finely. I never had a better bed than 
those spruce boughs. 

Next morning, after a breakfast of corn- 
meal mush, herrings, coffee and bacon, we 
took our axes and went to work, and by work 
ing steadily for six hours we chopped an acre 
of ground and cut four cords of wood, which 
we stacked up ready for hauling. It was 
birch, beech, oak, maple, hickory, ironwood and 
elm, for we left the pine alone and set out to 
clear the land on the side of the creek first. 
The small stuff that was not good for cord 
wood we piled up for our own fire or for fence 

We found, the fire out when we returned to 
our camp, but it was easy to light it again, and 
we had damper and butter, boiled rice and 
molasses, tea with sugar and slices of ham for 
supper. A workingman living out of doors 
in that air can eat as much as three men who 
live in the city. A light snow fell, but it made 
no difference, as our fire was protected by the 
tree root, and we could draw a strip of can 
vas down over the doorway of our house. 

So we lived till near the first of April when 


the sun began to grow warm and the ice and 
snow to melt. In that time we chopped about 
nine acres and made forty-five cords of wood, 
which we dragged to the bank of the river and 
left there for the boats to take, the storekeeper 
giving me credit for it on his books at $1.25 a 
cord. We also cut two roads through the 
bush. In order to haul the wood and break the 
roads I had to buy an ox team and bob 
sleigh which I got with harness, a ton of hay 
and four bushels of turnips for $63. I made 
the oxen a shelter of poles and boughs and 
birch bark sloping up to the top of an old tree 

By April 15th the ground which we had 
chopped over was ready for planting, for all 
the snow and ice was gone and the sun was 
warm. I bought a lot of seed of several 
kinds, and went to w T ork with spade and hoe, 
among the stumps of the clearing, putting in 
potatoes, corn, wheat, turnips, carrots, and a 
few onions, melons and pumpkins. We used 
spade and hoe in planting. 

The soil was black loam on top of fine red 
sand, and the corn seemed to spring up the 
day after it was planted. 

We planted nearly twelve acres of the land 
in a scattering way, and then set to work to 
build a log house of pine logs. " Jake " was 
a master hand at this, and in two weeks we had 
the house up. It was made of logs about 12 
by 8 inches on the sides. It was 18 feet long 


and 12 feet deep, and had three small windows 
in the sides and back and a door. The ends 
of the logs were chopped so that those of the 
sides fitted into those of the front and back. 
The only nails were in the door. I had to buy 
the windows. The only furniture was two 
trunks, a table, a stool and a bench, all made 
with the axe. The roof was of birch bark. 

About the first of June my sister Helene 
came with a preserving kettle, a lot of glass 
jars and a big scheme. We got a cook stove 
and a barrel of sugar, and put a sign on the 
river bank announcing that we would pay fifty 
cents cash for 12 quarts of strawberries, rasp 
berries or blackberries. All through June, 
July and August Indians kept bringing us the 
berries, and my sister kept preserving, can 
ning arid labeling them. Meanwhile we dug 
a roothouse into the side of the hill and sided 
it up and roofed it over with logs, and we built 
a log stable for cattle. A load of lumber that 
we got for $2 had some planed boards in it, 
of which we made doors. The rest we used for 
roofs, which we finally shingled before win 
ter came on again. The result of my first sea 
son s work was as follows : 


(From March 1st to December 31st, 1901) 

Farm, paid on account $50.00 

Axes, 4, with handles 5.00 

Spades, 2 3.00 



Hoes, 2 $2.00 

Oil lantern 1.25 

Lamp with bracket 1.50 

Oil, 4 gallons 40 

Cow with calf 25.00 

Yoke of oxen, with harness, sleigh, 

etc 63.00 

Seed 12.50 

"Jake s" wages, 6 months 120.00 

Helen e s wages, 7 months 112.00 

Windows for house 6.50 

Lumber 2.00 

Kitchen utensils, dishes 5.40 

Toboggans, 2 2.75 

Blankets, 2 pairs 10.00 

Pickaxe 1.25 

Mutton, 35 pounds 2.10 

Beef, 86 pounds 6.02 

Corned beef, 70 pounds 3.50 

Bacon, 82 pounds 4.10 

Flour, 3 barrels 10.50 

Cornmeal, 80 pounds 2.40 

Codfish, 40 pounds 3.60 

Sugar, 400 pounds 20.00 

Oatmeal, 75 pounds 2.25 

Molasses, 9 gallons 2.70 

Tobacco, 10 pounds .90 

Candles 10 

Tea, 18 pounds 5.40 

Coffee, 10 pounds 5.40 

Plough 6.50 

Rice, 25 pounds 2.15 

Preserve jars, 400 7.50 

Stump extracting 17.00 

Stove 3.00 



Preserve jar labels, 500 $2.50 

All other expenses 21.00 

Total $552.17 


(March 1st to December 31st, 1901). 

Cash in hand $292.00 

Wood, 45 cords at $1.25 56.25 

Preserves, 400 quarts 66.50 

Wheat, 67 bushels 46.50 

Corn, 350 bushels 163.30 

Carrots, 185 bushels 90.45 

Turnips, 80 bushels 32.00 

Potatoes, 150 bushels 75.00 

Total $822.00 

Total expenses 552.17 

Balance on hand $269.83 

That comparison of income and expenses 
looks more unfavorable than it really was be 
cause we had five months provisions on hand 
on December 31st. We raised almost all our 
own provisions after the first three months. 
In 1902 my income was above $1,200, and my 
expenses after paying $50 on the farm and 
$62 for road making and stump extracting 
and labor, less than $600. 

I have no trouble selling my produce, as the 
storekeeper takes it all and sells it down the 
river. He also owns a threshing machine and 
stump extractor. 



The Frenchman went away in August, 1901. 
I don t know where he is. I have had other 
good workmen since but none like him. 

I studied English coming out on the vessel, 
but I was here six months before I could speak 
it well. I like this country very much, and 
will become a citizen. 

One thing I like about this country is that 
you do not have to be always taking off your 
hat to people. In Sweden you take off your 
hat to everybody you meet, and if you enter a 
store you take off your hat to the clerk. 
Another thing that makes me like this country 
is that I can share in the government. In 
Sweden my father never had a vote, and my 
brothers never could have voted because there 
is a property qualification that keeps out the 
poor people, and they had no chance to make 
money. Here any man of good character can 
have a vote after he has been a short time in the 
country, and people can elect him to any office. 
There are no aristocrats to push him down, 
and say that he is not worthy because his father 
was poor. Some Swedes have become Gov 
ernors of States, and many who landed here 
poor boys are now very rich. 

I am going over to Sweden soon to keep 
Christmas there. Six hundred other Swedes 
will sail on our ship. Many are from Minne 
sota. They have done their fall planting, and 
the snow is on the ground up there, and they 
can easily get away for two months or more. 


So we are all going to our old home, but will 
come back again, and may be bring other peo 
ple with us. Some Swedes go to the old coun 
try every Christmas. 

We re going in the steerage and pay a low 
special rate because the ships need passengers 
at this time of the year. We ll have the steer 
age all to ourselves, and it ought to be very 
comfortable and jolly. We will dance and 
play cards all the way over. 

Christmas is Sweden s great day; in fact, 
it is wrong to speak of it as a day because it 
keeps up for two weeks. The people have 
been preparing for it since November last. 
Near our place there are twelve farm houses 
and about ten people living in each house. In 
the last letter that I got from my mother two 
weeks ago she told me about the preparations 
for Christmas. I know who the maskers are, 
w r ho will go around on Christmas Eve knock 
ing at the doors of the houses and giving the 
presents. That s supposed to be a secret, but 
mother has found out. 

I expect to return to America in February, 
and will try to bring my elder brother, Eric, 
and my youngest sister, Minna, with me. Eric 
has never seen a city, neither has Minna, and 
they don t think that they would like America 
much because the ways of the people are so 
different and they work so much harder while 
they are working. 

My father says that Sweden is the finest 


country in the world, and he will never leave, 
but he is only sixty years of age, and so he 
could move very well. Mother is younger, 
and they are both strong, so I think they will 
come to us in Minnesota next year, and then 
our whole family will be in America, for Uncle 
Olaf is now in New York in a shipping office. 

Gustaf is married and has three children, 
and Knut is to be married shortly, but either of 
them would be glad to have the father and 
mother. I think, though, that they will come 
to my house. 

I am carrying with me two trunks, and one 
of them is full of Christmas presents from 
Knut and Gustaf, Hilda and Christine to 
father, mother, Eric and Minna. When I re 
turn to America my trunk will be filled with 
presents from those in the old home to those 
in the new. 

Among these presents are books of pictures 
showing Minneapolis, Duluth and New York, 
and photographs of our houses. My father 
and the other old men will not believe that 
there are any great cities in America. They 
say that it is a wild country, and that it is quite 
impossible that New York can be as large as 
Stockholm. When they hear about the tall 
buildings they laugh, and say that travelers 
always tell such wild tales. Maybe they will 
believe the photographs. 

Some of the pictures that I am carrying to 
Sweden are of women in America. They have 


a better time than in Sweden. At least, they 
do not have to do such heavy work, and they 
dress much more expensively. Minna will be 
greatly surprised when she sees how Hilda 
dresses now, and I feel sure that she, too, will 
want to come here and try her fortune, where 
there are so many rich husbands to be had. 

The Swedes who live in America like the old 
country girls, because they know how to save 




Amelia des Moulins is a French girl who, as her story shows, 
is making her fortune in America, but is going back to France 
to live. 

I WAS born in a country district of France, 
on the edge of a great forest, about 150 
miles southwest of Paris. When I first came 
to identify myself, I was a little red-cheeked, 
roly-poly, black-haired, black-eyed baby of 
four years or so, tumbling about under the 
trees trying to gather fagots. 

My father had been one of the men in 
charge of the forest, and when he was killed 
by the caving in of an earthbank the great man 
who owned the estate on which we lived al 
lowed my mother to continue gathering fire 
wood as before, which was to us quite a valu 
able privilege, as fuel is scarce and dear in 

Our cottage was of stone. It was about 
200 years old and had tiled roof, though most 
of the cottages of the neighborhood were 
thatched. The walls were nearly two feet 
thick and all the front and sides were covered 
with ivy. There were only two rooms on the 


ground floor, but overhead was a large loft, 
with the floor boards loose on the beams. My 
brothers Jean and Fra^ois slept in the loft, 
which they reached by a ladder, and sometimes 
the straw from their bed would come sifting 
down through the cracks above. 

The large room on the ground floor was 
kitchen, dining room, sitting room and parlor. 
It had a great hearth, where a big iron pot 
hung on a thick chain, and both chain and pot 
were relics that had long been in my father s 
family. The only furniture here was a bench, 
four wooden stools and an old table, and the 
only picture on the plastered walls was a print 
of the Madonna. The other room was 
mother s bedroom, and I and my sister Mad 
eline had a cot in the corner. 

In comparison with some of our neighbors 
we were looked upon as wealthy, seeing that 
mother owned the house and field of two acres, 
and that she had about $400 saved up and bur 
ied in an old iron pot in the earthern floor of 
the little cellar, which was under the middle of 
the big room and reached through a trap door. 

Mother was a large, stout, full blooded 
woman of great strength. She could not read 
or write and yet she was well thought of. 
There are all sorts of educations, and though 
readirig and writing are very well in their way, 
they would not have done mother any good. 
She had the sort of education that was needed 
for her work. Nobody knew more about rais- 


ing vegetables, ducks, chickens and pigeons 
than she did. There were some among the 
neighbors who could read and write and so 
thought themselves above mother, but when 
they went to market they found their mistake. 
Her peas, beans, cauliflower, cabbages, pump 
kins, melons, potatoes, beets and onions sold 
for the highest price of any, and that ought 
to show whose education was the best, because 
it is the highest education that produces the 
finest work. 

Mother used to take me frequently to the 
market. We had a big dog and a little cart 
(mother and the dog pulled the cart) one can 
see hundreds of them in any French market 
town to-day. The cart was filled high with 
fowls and vegetables, and when I was very 
small I sat on the top holding our lunch, 
which was wrapped in a napkin. It was al 
ways the same, a half loaf of black bread to be 
eaten with an onion. I was inclined to be par 
ticular, and sometimes I would not eat the 
black bread, which was hard and sour, but 
mother would just lay it aside and say that I 
would go to it before it would go to me, and I 
always did go to it, except one day when 
mother got impatient with me for being sulky 
and gave my bread to the dog, Hero, who ate 
it like the greedy thing that he was. I boxed 
his ears for that, but he only smiled at me. He 
was a big, black Newfoundland fellow, very 



We used to reach the market place about 
half -past five o clock in the morning, and when 
we got there mother would back the cart up 
against the sidewalk and begin to shout about 
the chickens, eggs and vegetables. All the 
women with the carts were shouting and all 
the dogs barking, and there was great business. 

The market women were a big, rough, fat, 
jolly set, who did not know what sickness was, 
and it might have been well for me if I had 
stayed among them and grown to be like 
mother. They had so much hard, healthy 
work that it gave them no time to worry. 

One time in the market place I saw a totally 
different set of women. It was about eight 
o clock in the morning, when some people be 
gan to shout : 

" Here come the rich Americans! Now we 
will sell things! " 

We saw a large party of travelers coming 
through the crowd. They looked very queer. 
Their clothes seemed queer, as they were so 
different from ours. They wore leather boots 
instead of wooden shoes, and they all looked 
weak and pale. The women were tall and 
thin, like bean-poles, and their shoulders were 
stooped and narrow ; most of them wore glasses 
or spectacles, showing that their eyes were 
weak. The corners of their mouths were all 
pulled down and their faces were crossed and 
crisscrossed with lines and wrinkles, as though 
they were carrying all the care in the world. 


Our women all began to laugh and dance 
and shout at the strangers. It was not very 
polite on our part, but the travelers certainly 
did look funny. 

I was about six years old when that hap 
pened, and the sight of those people gave me 
my first idea of America. 1 heard that the 
women there never worked, laced themselves 
too tightly, and were always ill. 

I would have grown up like mother and her 
friends but that I did not seem to be good at 
their work. 1 took to reading, writing, sew 
ing and embroidering, and I did not take to 
gardening and selling things, while I cried 
when they killed pigeons or chickens. So I 
was sent to Paris to live with my Aunt Celes- 
tina, a dressmaker, employed by one of the 
great establishments. 

My aunt, though mother s sister, was not at 
all like her. She was small, thin and pale, 
with quick, black eyes and a snappy sort of 
way, though she was quite good hearted. 

It was not very long before I found out 
just how the fashions are made. There are 
three great establishments in Paris that lead 
all others. These have very clever men work 
ing for them as designers of cloaks, hats and 
dresses. These designers not only know all 
the recent fashions, but also all the fashions 
that there were in the world hundreds of years 
ago. They have books full of pictures to help 
them, and what they try to do is to make the 


women change their dresses just as often as 
possible. That s the reason they keep chang 
ing the fashions. 

Each time they make a new fashion they 
make it just as unlike the one that went before 
as can be, so that things that are six months old 
look ridiculous, and the women all over the 
world who are trying to follow the fashions 
put the old dresses away, even though they 
have only been worn once or twice. One time 
the sleeves are big at the shoulders and narrow 
at the wrists and at another time narrow at the 
shoulders and big at the wrists. One time the 
dress is tight at the waist and another time 
loose, and there are all sorts of changes in the 
size, shape and hang of the skirt ; and in addi 
tion all the changes of fashion in colors and 

The keynote of fashion making is change, 
for the women all over the world are watching 
Paris, and they say, " You might as well be 
out of the world, as out of the fashion." 
The greater the changes the more dresses 

When these great milliners have decided on 
the new fashions they get some of the best 
known women in the city to lead off with them. 
These women are given magnificent costumes 
of the newest design to wear, and, in some 
cases, are even paid for wearing them. Of 
course these women are great beauties, and 
when they appear in the parks, or at the opera, 


all the other women envy them, and all those 
who can, run away and get something of the 
same kind. 

My aunt and I lived in a room on the fifth 
floor of an old brick house in one of the back 
streets. They were all poor people in the 
house, and I found the children very different 
from those in the country. They were not re 
ligious. The boys swore and smoked even 
little ones of my own age and the girls knew 
all sorts of bad things. There was no place 
to play but in the streets, and, for a time, I 
was very homesick. The other children 
laughed at me, but they were not altogether 
bad. They were good natured in their way. 
Most of them had never been in the country 
and they thought I was telling stories when I 
described the forest where you could walk for 
miles and see nothing but the trees. 

Some of these children belonged to people 
who beat them, and a few had hardly any 
clothes. My aunt used to pity them so much, 
and in the evening she taught me dressmaking 
by making things for those children. She 
taught me measuring, cutting out, basting and 
stitching. In the day time I went to school. 
Mother sent aunt some money to help keep me, 
and as I had a natural love for dressmaking I 
got along. In the afternoons when school 
was over and before my aunt returned from 
her work I used to go and see all the beautiful 
things in the museums and art galleries. 


I was with my aunt, learning all she could 
teach, till I was fourteen years of age, which 
was in 1895. I was quite a well grown girl 
then, and my aunt was going to get me em 
ployment in the place where she worked, when 
she died of a heavy cold, pneumonia, I suppose. 
After she caught the cold she went to work, 
and grew worse, but she wouldn t stop for 
two days. On the third day she was in a high 
fever and so dizzy that she could not stand 
when she rose from bed. I got her some med 
icine, but I did not know what to ask for and 
the druggist did not exactly know what to 
give. It did no good. So at last I called in a 
doctor, but she grew worse very fast and 
seemed choking. Some of the neighbors sat 
up with her in the early part of the night, but 
at three o clock in the morning I was the only 
watcher. My aunt, who had been breathing 
very heavily and seemed unconscious, suddenly 
sat up in bed, with her eyes staring. She was 
frightened and began to cry. 

"I m dying," she said, " and I m not fit to 
die; I have been so wicked." 

I spoke to her and held her hands, but I 
could not comfort her. 

You are not dying, and you have not been 
wicked," I said. 

" Oh! Oh! I have been so wicked! " she cried, 
again and again. 

I declared that she had not done anything 
wrong, but she answered: 


" Those clothes that I made for the poor 
children, I stole all the goods from our cus 
tomers, because I could not bear to see the lit 
tle ones in such a state. Oh, it was very bad. 
If I wanted to give the children something it 
should have been my own." 

I was so frightened that I called up the 
people who lived in the next room and one of 
them went for the priest, and after he had 
talked with my aunt for a few minutes she 
seemed comforted, but she died the next 

I went back to my mother s house for two 
weeks, but I could not stay there, so I returned 
to Paris, where I went to work in the shop that 
had employed my aunt. 

-Many of our best customers were Ameri 
cans. They were all very rich, and we heard 
that everybody in America was rich. They 
drove up to our shop in carriages and auto 
mobiles, and they wanted dresses like those of 
the queens and princesses. Some of them 
spent whole weeks in our shop. 

Part of the time I had to help try on and 
heard a great deal of the conversation of these 
ladies. It was all about dress and money. 
They said that Paris was just like their idea 
of heaven, though the ones who said that had 
seen very little except our shop. They were 
mostly daughters of working people, common 
laborers, butchers and shopkeepers who had 
grown rich some way, yet they were more 


haughty and proud than our own aristocrats. 
In fact, they were pretending to be aristo 
crats. I remember one of this sort who de 
clared that she hated America because it was 
a republic and contained so many common peo 
ple. She was sorry that France was a repub 
lic and hoped it would again soon have a king. 
Our forewoman always agreed with all the 
customers, and she agreed with this one till her 
back was turned. Then she said : 

" What a fool that woman is! She is coarse 
enough for the fish market, yet she thinks she 
can make people believe she is an aristocrat. 
I wonder what she is proud of ? " 

Most of the Americans I disliked, but there 
were a few of a different sort. One very 
beautiful, tall girl, whose father owned 10,000 
miles of telegraph wires and something like 
$40,000,000, was as gentle, simple and pleas 
ant as if she had been poor. She smiled at me 
when I was helping her to try on a new dress, 
and said : 

What good taste you have. If one as 
clever as you came to America she could do 
very well." 

I had been for a long time thinking that 
same thing. If the Americans whom I had 
seen could have so much money, why not I? 
I said that to Annette, my room mate, and 
she also wanted to go to America. 

Of course, it was all on account of the 
money, as there is no country like France and 


no city like Paris. We heard that some dress 
makers in America received as much as 100 
francs for a week s work. That seemed to me 
a great fortune. 

By working at night Annette and I saved 
300 francs, but it was stolen from our room 
and we had to begin all over again. 

That was the reason why we did not reach 
America till 1899. We saved and saved, and 
we pinched ourselves hard, but it takes a long 
time for two sewing girls in Paris to scrape 
together 500 francs, and we could not start 
with less, because we wanted to have some 
money in our pockets when we landed. 

It was in September when we started. I 
had never seen the ocean before and the voy 
age was all strange. When we approached 
America a man came to us and asked how 
much money we had. We showed him 40 

That is not enough," he said; " you will be 
sent back. No one is allowed to land in Amer 
ica unless he has 100 francs." 

We were dreadfully frightened, but the 
man said that if we gave him 20 francs he 
would lend each of us $50 till we passed 
through the immigrants gate and got into the 
city of New York. We gave him 20 francs 
and he gave each of us a $50 bill. 

" But will they not think it strange that I 
and Annette have each a $50 bill in American 
money? " I asked. 



"Not at all," said he. "American money 
is now good all over the world." 

When we reached the immigrants gate, 
however, the men there told us that the $50 
bills were no good. They were what is called 
Confederate. The man who had given them 
to us had slipped away. We would have been 
sent back to France if some other immi 
grants had not taken pity on us and lent us 
some money. 

Oh, how glad we were to get away from that 
place and into the city. We landed in a sort 
of park, and a good woman, who was one of 
those that helped us, treated us to peaches and 
popcorn. The peaches were the largest and 
ripest I ever ate. They fairly melted in our 

A car took us to a place in South Fifth Ave 
nue where there are many French people. We 
were horrified when we found that we must 
pay $2 a week for a miserable room, but we 
could do no better. We had only 10 francs 
left, and all the first week after our landing we 
lived on potatoes that we roasted over the 
gas flame and stale bread. The woman who 
kept the house walked about in the passage 
smelling the air and saying that some one was 
cooking in one of the bedrooms, but she did 
not find us out. 

That was a horrible place. Most of the peo 
ple in it seemed to be mad; they made such 


awful noises in the night singing, shouting, 
banging pianos, dancing and quarreling. 

The partition that separated our room from 
the one next door to it was thin and there was a 
hole in it, through which a man once peeped. 
He talked at us, but we nailed a piece of tin 
over the hole; and as for his talk, we never 
answered it. 

I don t think that that house had been 
dusted or swept in six months; the servants 
looked most untidy. Most of the women 
lodgers slept till noon each day and then 
walked about the passages wearing old wrap 
pers. Their hair was done up in curl papers 
and their faces were covered with a white paste 
to improve their complexions. They looked 
hideous till they washed themselves later in the 
day. These were all married women who had 
no children and nothing to do but gad about. 

Each day after our arrival in New York we 
wandered about the streets looking for work, 
but we did not know where to look and had no 
luck. We could not speak English and that 
made it very hard. We might have starved 
but that Annette made $2 posing for an artist, 
whom she met quite by chance. He had been 
in Paris and he knew immediately that she 
was French. He saw by the way she looked at 
the shop signs that she was strange to the city 
and he spoke to her in French. Of course she 
answered, and they became acquainted. 


" How did you know I was French? " she 
asked, and he answered: 

" A French girl! Ah, how could I mistake 
you for one of another nation? " 

That is the truth, too, though I say it my 
self. All the world knows that we French 
have the true artistic taste, and we show it most 
in our dress. The Germans or the English 
cannot make dresses or hats, and even when we 
make for them they cannot wear the clothes 
properly. There is something wrong some 
where, probably with the color scheme. Those 
other people do not understand, they cannot 
comprehend, it is impossible to convey to them 
the conception of true harmony. It is like 
trying to teach the blind about light. They 
lack the soul of the artist, and so their dresses 
are shocking, hideous discords of form and 
color. When I see them I simply want to 

Berlin has lately been trying to make fash 
ions of her own. Pah! Pooh! What pre 

Annette is tall and fair, while I am dark 
and not more than medium height. The artist 
posed her as a Venetian flower girl with bare 
feet. I saw the picture lately hanging in a 
great gallery. It is very beautiful and ex 
actly like Annette though she always says 
that I am the beauty. Of course that is not 

After we had been for eight days looking 


for work without finding any we spoke to the 
woman who kept the house where we lived. 
She knew a little French. 

" I think that I can get you situations," she 
said, " but they will cost you $10 for each." 

I told her that we had no money. 

"No matter," said she; "you can pay me 
after you are paid, and I will then pay the 
forewoman. But you must not say anything 
to her about paying, because the proprietor 
does not know about it." The next day we 
went with the woman to a Sixth Avenue dress 
maker, where we were engaged at $7 a week 
each, which seemed to us good pay. We had 
to give the woman of our house $5 a week each 
for two weeks, and as we paid $1 a week each 
for our room, we nearly starved trying to live 
on the remainder. At the end of two weeks 
we were discharged by the forewoman, though 
there was plenty of work. I learned afterward 
that the forewoman made a great deal of 
money that way, by receiving pay for hiring 
girls whom she afterward discharged. 

We seemed to be in a worse state than ever 
and cried all the night after we were sent away 
from the Sixth Avenue place. But at six 
o clock in the next morning we rose and said 
long prayers, and I wrote a sort of letter to 
be shown. It said like this : 

"MADAME: Please to behold us as two girls who 
have of Paris the art dressmaker from the best models 


taken to make the dress for the American, we will 
comprehend so well if you but try. If you please. 


I wrote that because I could take time and 
use the correct language, as I had found when 
I spoke the English, Americans did not under 

We hurried into the street, having no break 
fast, but full of hope, for it was the season of 
dressmaking and we surely must get some 

We entered a fine place on Twenty-third 
Street and a man behind a counter sent us 
upstairs, where we found twenty women en 
gaged. The proprietress read my letter and 
asked us questions. She did not seem to un 
derstand well and called a German girl who 
spoke French. 

I had all my life hated Germans, but I could 
not hate this girl as she spoke to us so kindly. 

I told her where we had had experience, and 
what we could do, and she said to the proprie 
tress : 

" We must have these, Miss G . They 

come from the best place in Paris and look 

"Nonsense!" said the proprietress; "we 
don t want them. They are mere appren 



I understood what she meant and said in 
French that we were not apprentices, but of 
long experience, and Annette, too, joined in. 

But the proprietress was only pretending. 
She wanted us all the time. So at last she 

" But how much money would you want? " 

" Seven dollars a week," said I, because I 
thought that I might as well ask for plenty. 

The proprietress almost screamed: 

" Seven dollars a week, and you have just 

" Oh, no," I said; " we have been here nearly 
a month." 

At last we were engaged at $6 a week each 
and they put us at work immediately. Our 
hours were from eight o clock in the morning 
till six o clock in the evening. When we went 
home that night we were very happy and 
treated ourselves to a little feast in our room. 
On six dollars a week we knew that we could 
live finely and we felt sure that we could keep 
this place, as they had put us on good work at 
once and we knew that we had done well." 

Our proprietress was full of tricks. In ap 
pearance she was a tall, thin, sharp faced 
woman with fair hair. She was very quick in 
speech and action, and a great driver among 
the girls. She did all the measuring and cut 
ting out and her perquisites included all the 
materials that were left over from the dresses, 


A tall woman would need seventeen yards 
of silk or other narrow goods, while one who 
was shorter might get along very well with 
fourteen yards. Our proprietress would 
always exaggerate the amount of material 
needed and then, in cutting out, would be able 
to reserve some for herself. Often she got as 
much as two yards. These pieces she slipped 
into a private drawer, of which she had the 
key. It did not take her long, therefore, to get 
enough to make herself a new skirt or a waist, 
and odd pieces could be used as piping or as 
trimming for hats. 

Accordingly she was always very well 
dressed, and though sometimes customers rec 
ognized parts of their own materials in her 
costume, they seldom said anything. 

Once, though, I thought there was going to 
be a scene. A stout lady who was one of our 
best customers came in one day and saw our 
proprietress just going out to lunch. The 
stout lady immediately stood still and glared 
at the proprietress s new hat, which was on her 
head. It was a very stylish hat and the silk 
trimming was precisely the same as the piping 
of the lady s dress that had recently been made 
at our place. 

Why, you ve got my piping! " she cried. 

The proprietress flushed and smiled, but she 
was equal to the occasion. 

" Yes, Mrs. Miller," she said, " it s the very 
same as yours. The truth is I admired the 


material so much that I sent out and bought 
some. Don t you like my hat? " 

" Oh, yes," said the stout lady. " Where did 
you get that material? " 

This was a catch, because there was only one 
store in town where it could have been bought, 
but our proprietress was not to be trapped. 

" One of my girls got it for me. I don t 
know where she got it," she said. 

" Humph! " exclaimed the stout lady, and 
wandered away without another word. 

She came back later on and gave us more 
custom. She knew that she was being robbed, 
but she knew, also, that it was the dressmakers 
rule to help themselves from their customers 

On another occasion a lady who had given 
five yards of wide ribbon for trimming came 
back after she had received the dress. 

" I don t understand how it is, Miss - ," 
she said. " I gave you five yards of this rib 
bon. There s only four yards on the dress. 
I measured it with the tape measure." 

The proprietress produced tape measure and 
gravely measured the trimming. 

"Dear me! you re right," she exclaimed. 
" Now, what can have happened to that other 
yard? Where can it be? Girls, did you see it 
any place? " 

The customer just sniffed. 

We all buzzed about, but it was the propri 
etress herself who found the missing ribbon 


under a pile of goods. She appeared to be 
greatly surprised, and the customer sniffed 

Our proprietress, I think, never told the 
truth while she was at business. She would 
promise most solemnly to have a dress made 
up in three days when she knew quite well that 
it could not be done in two weeks. 

Sometimes when the bell rang she would 
look out and say : 

" Oh, girls! There s that Mrs. K- - come 
again. I promised for sure that her dress 
would be ready to try on this afternoon and I 
haven t put the scissors in it yet. Run down, 
Katie, and keep her in the parlor." 

Then she would rush at the goods and the 
pattern, cut out with lightning speed and toss 
the various parts to different girls to baste. 
In half an hour there was the dress, basted, 
ready to try on, and the customer none the 
wiser as to how it was done. 

Some of our customers suffered greatly in 
their efforts to be fashionable, for fashion takes 
no account of the natural shape of the human 
body. It did not matter so much to the thin 
women, because all they had to do was to stuff 
their figures, but some of the stout women 
were martyrs. 

One very beautiful woman was fat and 
would not acknowledge it, as she had been 
quite slim. 



" My waist measure," she said, " is 24 

She insisted on this and made two of us girls 
pull her corset strings till we secured the right 

My! that was a job! The squeezing must 
have hurt her awfully. She was gasping for 
breath and perspiring rivers, but she would 
not give up. 

When we sent the dress home she brought 

It doesn t fit," she said. 

Where? " asked the proprietress. 

" The waist is too small." 

"The waist is 24 inches. You gave that 
yourself as your measurement. All you have 
to do is to have your corsets tightened as they 
were on the day when you were measured." 

The poor lady looked at us and we all nod 
ded assent. We had heard her insist that 24 
was her measurement. Soon she was again in 
the hands of the tighteners, gasping and per 

When the corsets were well pulled in the 
dress fitted like a glove, but the poor lady s 
face was the color of blood and she could 
hardly speak. 

"I m m must have been mistaken!" 
she gasped. 

"Certainly!" said our proprietress. "I 
never saw a better fit." 



The poor lady staggered away trying to 
look comfortable. I don t believe she could 
wear that dress, though, as she was growing 

The only thing to be done for stout people 
is to make everything plain, avoid bright colors 
and have all lines running up and down. That 
gives the appearance of greater height and 
less girth. 

Lines running up and down make short 
women look taller. As to tall women, they 
don t want to look shorter now. It s the fash 
ion to be tall. The plump, cosy, little women 
is out of date. 

The first thing that I and Annette did when 
we began to have a little money was to move 
away from the horrible place in South Fifth 
Avenue. We never could understand those 
people. Most of them were connected with 
theaters, .and they kept hours that seemed 
crazy. We got a room in West Twenty- 
fourth Street for $3 a week a very good 
room, too and made arrangement with a res 
taurant to give us breakfast and supper for 
$2.50 per week each. 

So our starvation was at an end, and we had 
$2 a week to do with as we pleased. In a few 
weeks we had good clothing, and after that we 
were able to save a little. 

Annette came to me one day with her eyes 
as big as saucers. 

"What do you think!" she said. "That 


girl Rosa gets $12 a week and she is not as 
clever as us." 

We were both very angry at Rosa, though 
I suppose it was not her fault. Still she had 
no right to get more. It was ridiculous; we 
were the better workwomen. 

" Wait," said I; "we are learning the En 

We waited six months and then asked the 
proprietress to give us $12 a week. She 
screamed at us with rage. 

" What impudence! " she said. 

But we only smiled; we knew enough of 
the English now and were not afraid. 

She gave us $9 a week each and we stayed 
there six months more. Then, when the holi 
day season was coming on, we went to a great 
dressmaking place in Fifth Avenue and told 
the proprietress about our Paris experience and 
where we were now working. She asked how 
much we were getting and we said $18 a week. 

That was true, too, because each of us got 
$9. We would not tell what was not true. 

The proprietress said: "Well, if they give 
you $18 a week in Twenty-third Street we will 
give you $20 a week here." 

When we told the proprietress of the 
Twenty- third Street shop she screamed again, 
and said that we could not go, that she would 
give us a bad character. We said it was no 
matter, we would not ask the character from 
her. Then she cried, and said that we had in- 


gratitude and she would give us $12 a week 

We cried, too. Because after all she was 
not such a bad one to work for. But we 
had to go, as it was too much money that we 
wanted for staying. 

So we began in Fifth Avenue, and now it 
was quite new the sort of trade. We have been 
in that place ever since. We have been in the 
very finest houses of New York, talking with 
all the beauties and trying on their dresses 
for them. 

The girls here are very beautiful, but I can 
not like them. They have not the heart of 
French women. All that is given to them they 
take as their due and they are not grateful. 
They love, but it is only themselves. They do 
not care for men, except to have them as slaves 
bringing them the money that they so much 
need. For fine dress they will do anything. 

I have told of the tricks that dressmakers 
play on ladies, but they are no worse than 
those that ladies play on dressmakers and on 
other people. In the first place, many of them 
won t pay their bills. In the second place 
they get costumes made and delivered that 
they wear one night and then return, saying 
that they have changed their minds, or that the 
costume doesn t fit they deny that they have 
worn it except to try on : they get $50 or $100 
cash and have it charged as a dress or hats in 
the bill, so as to deceive their husbands. They 


are finicky and want things changed because 
their minds have changed. They expect us to 
remake them in spite of nature. All the fat 
women insist that we shall make them look 

Then if they quarrel with us they use 

One of our customers, a very sweet little 
lady, who is quite wealthy, said the other day 
to our proprietress : 

" How have you offended Mrs. L ? " 

" Have I offended her? " the proprietress 

" It seems so. I was walking with her on 
the street the other day when you passed. You 
bowed to me and I responded, when Mrs. 
L - said: Oh, do you know that person? 
Why, yes, said I, that s my dressmaker/ 
Indeed! said she; how can you stand her? 
She fits so badly. I ve always found her a 
true artist, said I." 

Our proprietress was very angry when she 
heard this story. 

" Now I will tell the whole truth," she said. 

* That woman owes me $850, and it would be 

more than $1,000, but the last costume I sent 

C. O. D. My husband is not home and I 

have no money, said she to the girl. The girl 

in spite of her protests brought the costume 

away. She came to me and said, * I have to 

wear that costume this evening. I am going 

to the ball ! * Then you must pay for it/ said 



I. But I have not the money and my hus 
band is away. Get the money, said I. She 
did get it and I gave her the costume, but she 
has slandered me ever since." 

Ah! it is a good country to work in, no 
doubt. Annette is now getting $40 a week 
and I almost as much, and we have plenty 
saved; but I am not to live here. 

To one born in England, Germany, Austria, 
Holland or Scandinavia this may appear fine, 
but not so to the French. 

There is but one France and only one Paris 
in all the world, and soon, very soon, Annette 
and I will be aboard some great ship that will 
bear us back there. 



The first name of the pretty nurse girl who writes this chapter 
is Agnes, but it s not worth while giving her last name because, 
as the last paragraph implies, it is liable soon to be changed. 

I WAS born just twenty years ago in the 
old, old city of Treves, in what was once 
France, but is now Germany. There were 
eight children in our family, five girls and three 
boys, and we were comfortably off until my 
father died, which happened when I was only 
three years old. 

My father was a truckman, carrying goods 
from the railway stations to the shops; he 
had a number of wagons going and had built 
up a good business, though he was always ill 
from some disease that he contracted when a 
soldier in the war with France. It was con 
sumption, I believe, and it finally carried him 
off. We were living at the time in a fine new 
house that he had built near the Moselle, but 
we were soon obliged to move, because though 
my mother was a good business woman, every 
one robbed her, and even my uncle made the 
mortgage come down on our house without 
telling her which she said was very mean. 


By the time I was five years old my mother 
had lost everything except the money she got 
from the Government, which was enough to 
keep her, but the family had to hreak up, and 
I went away to a school kept by Sisters of 
Christian Liebe, in another city. The Govern 
ment paid for me there on account of my 
being a soldier s orphan all of us children 
had allowances like that. 

From the time I went away to that school 
till I was fifteen years of age I did not once 
see my mother, but stayed in school during all 
the holidays. But in spite of that I was not 
sad. It was the pleasantest time of my life, 
and I often wonder if I shall ever be as happy 

The school was for Catholics, and I was 
glad I was a Catholic it was so good to be 
there ; and I heard that at the school to which 
the Lutheran children went the teachers were 
very severe. However that might be, our 
Sisters were among the kindest women that 
ever lived and they loved us all dearly. 

Every one at the school made much of me 
because I was so little a gay little thing with 
fuzzy, light hair and blue eyes, and plenty to 
say for myself and a good voice for singing. 
I learned quickly, too, and when play time 
came I played hard. 

We got up at half -past six o clock each 
morning, and had mass three times a week and 
morning prayer when there was no mass. At 


eight o clock school began and lasted to ten, 
when there was half an hour for play, then an 
hour more school, then more play and then 
lunch, after which we worked in the garden 
or sewed or sang or played till six o clock, 
when we had dinner, and we all went to bed at 
eight. We did not always go to sleep though, 
but sometimes lit candles after the Sisters had 
gone away and had feasts of apples and cakes 
and candies. 

There were about eighty boys in this school 
and fifty-five girls none of them older than 
fifteen years. We had a very large play 
ground, and though the boys and girls were 
kept separate they yet found means of con 
versing, and when I was eleven years of age I 
fell in love with a tall, slim, thoughtful, dark- 
haired boy named Fritz, whose parents lived 
in Frankfort. We used to talk to each other 
through the bars of the fence which divided 
our playground. He was a year and a half 
older than I, and I thought him a man. The 
only time I was ever beaten at that school was 
on his account. We had been talking together 
on the playground; I did not heed the bell and 
was late getting in, and when the Sister asked 
what kept me I did not answer. She insisted 
on knowing, and Fritz and I looked at each 
other. The Sister caught us laughing. 

Whipping on the hands with a rod was 
the punishment that they had there for very 
naughty children, and that is what I got. It 


did not hurt much, and that night at half past 
nine o clock, when all the house was still, there 
came a tapping at our dormitory window, and 
when it was opened we found Fritz there cry 
ing about the way I had been whipped. He 
had climbed up one of the veranda posts and 
had an orange for me. The other girls never 
told. They said it was so fine and romantic. 

Fritz and I kept up our friendship till he 
had to leave the place, which was when I had 
grown to be nearly thirteen years of age. He 
climbed to our dormitory again to bid me 
good-bye, and tell me that when I was free 
from the school he would seek me out and 
marry me. We cried together as he told me 
his plans for being a great man, and all that 
night and the next night, too, I cried alone; 
but I never saw him again, and I m afraid that 
his plans must have miscarried. 

When I was fifteen years of age I left 
school and returned to my mother, who was 
then living in a flat with some of my brothers 
and sisters. Two of my brothers were in 
the army and one of my sisters was in 
America, while another sister was married in 

I did not like it much at home. My mother 
was almost a stranger to me, and after the 
kindness of the Sisters and the pleasantness 
of their school she seemed very stern. 

I went to work for a milliner. The hours 
were from eight o clock in the morning till six 


in the evening, but when there was much bus 
iness the milliner would keep us till nine 
o clock at night. I got no money, and was to 
serve for two years for nothing as an appren 

But the milliner found that I was already so 
clever with the needle that she set me to work 
making hats and dresses after the first two 
weeks that I was working for her, and when I 
had been there six months I could see that I 
had nothing more to learn in her place and 
that staying there was just throwing away my 

Needlework seemed to come naturally to 
me, while I disliked cooking and was not much 
good at it. My two elder sisters, on the other 
hand, were stupid at sewing and embroidery, 
but master hands at cooking. My eldest sis 
ter was such a good cook that her husband 
started a restaurant so that she might have a 
chance to use her talents ; and as for my second 
eldest sister, within two months after she 
landed in America where she was sent by my 
eldest sister she was earning $35 a month as 
a cook for one of the rich families. 

My sister in America sent money for my 
eldest brother to go to her when his time in the 
army was done. We were all glad to see him 
go, because he had been a sergeant and was so 
used to commanding that he tried to command 
everybody he met. He even tried to command 



Such ways won t do outside of the army. 
Another thing that we disliked was that, hav 
ing been a sergeant, he was too proud to work, 
so we were glad to see him go to America. He 
lived for awhile by borrowing money from my 
sister till she got married to a mechanical engi 
neer, who would not have him about the house 
when he heard of his actions. 

So he had to do something, and became a 
butler, and a very good one, too, making plenty 
of money but spending it all on himself. He 
is employed by a family on the east side of 
Central Park now, getting $60 a month. 
When I went to see him a year ago he pre 
tended that he did not know me. He has also 
forgotten my sister who helped him to come 
out here, and he has never sent a dollar to 

I heard about how easy it was to make 
money in America and became very anxious to 
go there, and very tired of making hats and 
dresses for nothing for a woman who was sell 
ing them at high prices. I was restless in my 
home also; mother seemed so stern and could 
not understand that I wanted amusement. 

I was not giddy and not at all inclined to 
flirt, but I had been used to plenty of play at 
the school, and this all work and no play and 
no money to spend was hard. 

If I had been inclined to flirt there was 
plenty to do in Treves, for the city was full of 
soldiers, young fellows who, when they wore 


their uniforms, thought that a girl could not 
fail to be in love with them; but they made a 
mistake when they met me. They used to 
chirrup after me, just like birds, but I would 
turn and make faces to show what I thought 
of them I was not quite sixteen then. 

There were officers there, too, but they never 
noticed me. They belong to the high families, 
and go about the streets with their noses up in 
the air and their mustaches waxed up, trying to 
look like the Emperor. I thought they were 

I grew more and more tired of all work and 
no play, and more and more anxious to go to 
America; and at last mother, too, grew anx 
ious to see me go. She met me one night walk 
ing in the street with a young man, and said to 
me afterward: 

It is better that you go." 

There was nothing at all in my walking 
with that young man, but she thought there 
was and asked my eldest sister to lend me the 
money to go to America to my second eldest 
sister, and a month later I sailed from Ant 
werp, the fare costing $55. 

My second eldest sister with her husband 
met me at Ellis Island and they were very glad 
to see me, and I went to live with them in their 
flat in West Thirty-fourth Street. A week 
later I was an apprentice in a Sixth Avenue 
millinery store earning four dollars a week. 
I only paid three dollars a week for board, 


and was soon earning extra money by making 
dresses and hats at home for customers of my 
own, so that it was a great change from Ger 
many. But the hours in the millinery store 
were the same as in Germany, and there was 
overtime, too, occasionally; and though I was 
now paid for it I felt that I wanted something 
different more time to myself and a differ 
ent way of living. I wanted more pleasure. 
Our house was dull, and though I went to 
Coney Island or to a Harlem picnic park with 
the other girls now and then, I thought I d 
like a change. 

So I went out to service, getting twenty- 
two dollars a month as a nursery governess in 
a family where there were three servants be 
sides the cook. 

I had three children to attend to, one four, 
one six and one seven years of age. The one 
who was six years of age was a boy ; the other 
two were girls. I had to look after them, to 
play with them, to take them about and amuse 
them, and to teach them German which was 
easy to me, because I knew so little English. 
They were the children of a German mother, 
who talked to them in their own language, so 
they already knew something of it. I got 
along with these children very well and stayed 
with them for two years, teaching them what I 
knew and going out to a picnic or a ball or 
something of that sort about once a week, for 
I am very fond of dancing. 


We went to Newport and took a cottage 
there in the summer time, and our house was 
full of company. A certain gentleman there 
once told me that I was the prettiest girl in the 
place, with a great deal more of the same sort 
of talk. I was dressed in gray, with white in 
sertion, and was wearing roses at the time he 
said that. He caught me passing through the 
parlor when the others were away. Of course 
I paid no attention to him, but it was early in 
the day. It was generally late in the evening 
when gentlemen paid such compliments. 

I enjoyed life with this family and they 
seemed to like me, for they kept me till the 
children were ready to go to school. After I 
left them I went into another family, where 
there were a very old man and his son and 
granddaughter who was married and had two 
children. They had a house up on Riverside 
Drive, and the old man was very rich. The 
house was splendid and they had five carriages 
and ten horses, and a pair of Shetland ponies 
for the children. There were twelve servants, 
and I dined with the housekeeper and butler, of 
course because we had to draw the line. I 
got $25 a month here and two afternoons a 
week, and if I wanted to go any place in par 
ticular they let me off for it. 

These people had a fine place down on Long 

Island to which we all went in the summer, 

and there I had to ramble around with the 

children, boating, bathing, crabbing, fishing 



and playing all their games. It was good fun, 
and I grew healthy and strong. 

The children were a boy of ten and girl of 
eight years. They were restless and full of 
life but good natured, and as they liked me I 
would have stayed there till they grew too old 
to need me any more, but that something awful 
happened during the second summer that we 
were spending on Long Island. 

It was one night in June, when the moon 
was very large and some big stars were shin 
ing. I had been to the village with the house 
keeper to get the mail, and at the post office 
we met the butler and a young man who sailed 
the boats for us. Our way home lay across 
the fields and the young man with me kept 
stopping to admire things, so that the others 
got away ahead of us. 

He admired the moon and the stars and the 
sky, and the shine of the water on the waves 
and the way that the trees cast their shadows, 
and he didn t seem to be thinking about me at 
all, just talking to me as he might to any 
friend. But when we walked into a shadowy 
place he said : 

" Aren t you afraid of catching cold? " and 
touched my wrap. 

" Oh, no," I said. 

" You had better draw that together," said 
he, and put his arm about it to make it tight. 
He made it very tight, and the first thing I 
knew he kissed me. 



It was done so quickly that I had no idea 
I never saw a man kiss any one so quickly. 

I gave such a scream that one could hear it 
a mile and boxed his ears, and as soon as I 
could tear myself away I ran as fast as I 
could to the house, and he ran as fast as 
he could to the village. 

I was very angry and crying. He had given 
me no warning at all, and besides I did not like 
him enough. Such impudence! But I prob 
ably would not have said anything about the 
matter at the house, but that the next day all 
the people in the village were talking about it. 
My mistress heard of it and called me in, and I 
told her the truth ; but she seemed to think that 
I could help being kissed, and I grew stubborn 
then and said I would not stay any more. 

I am of a very yielding disposition when 
coaxed, and anything that I possess I will give 
away to any one who persists in asking me for 
it. That s one of my faults; my friends all 
tell me that I am too generous. But at the 
same time, when treated unjustly, I grow 
stubborn and won t give way. 

And it was unjust to blame me for what 
that young man did. Who would have 
thought he would dare to do such a thing as 
kiss me? Why, he was only the young man 
who sailed the boat ! And as to my screaming 
so loudly I could not help it; any girl would 
have screamed as loudly if she had been kissed 
as suddenly. 



I went back to my sister s house in New 
York after I left this place, and stayed there 
a month resting. I had been nearly four 
years in the country, and in spite of sending $6 
a month to mother during all that time and 
sending money to bring my second eldest 
brother here I had $485 in the savings bank. 

A girl working as I was working does not 
need to spend much. I seldom had to buy 
a thing, there was so much that came to me 
just the least bit worn. 

After I had rested and enjoyed a holiday I 
secured another situation, this time to mind the 
baby of a very rich young couple. It was the 
first and only baby of the mistress, and so 
it had been spoiled till I came to take charge. 
It had red hair and green eyes, and a fearful 
temper really vicious. 

I had thought that the place would be an 
easy one, but I soon found out that this was a 
great mistake. The baby was .eighteen 
months old, and it had some settled bad habits. 
The maid and its mother used to give it its own 
way in everything. 

" It won t go in the carriage," said the maid 
to me when I first took charge. 

It will with me," said I. 

" It sleeps all day and cries all night," said 
the maid. 

" It s been spoiled by getting its own way, 
that s the trouble," said I. 


So I put it in the carriage and took it out to 
Central Park, in a shady place down by the 
lake. It fought and struggled and howled as 
if it would like to kill me, but I had brought a 
good book and I paid no attention to it. 

It had an orange, a bottle of milk and some 
cakes, and threw them all away. I didn t even 
look at it. It cried for nearly four hours 
steadily, but we had the place to ourselves and 
I didn t mind. 

When I was good and ready I took it to 
the restaurant and gave it a little ice cream, 
for I knew that it was sure to be hot and 
thirsty. I was sorry for doing that, however, 
because it cried and fought me again when I 
put it back in the carriage. It wanted me to 
carry it all the way in my arms, which I was 
determined not to do. 

So the first day that I had it in charge the 
baby did not get any sleep, and was good and 
tired when its proper bedtime came. The 
maid told me that it would not go to sleep 
without being rocked; but I said that I was in 
charge of that baby now and it would have to 
give up its crankiness. I put it to bed and it 
did not wait for any rocking ; it went right off 
to sleep. 

The mistress came in and said that I was a 

clever, good girl, and she was sure that I would 

get along finely with the baby that all it 

needed was some one who understood and sym- 



pathized with it. She also said that it looked 
like a little angel. I wondered at her taste in 

Next day I carried the baby out to the park 
again for another lesson. It was in a dread 
ful temper, and when it was being dressed it 
beat the maid. It used to slap its mother and 
the maid in the face, but it never treated me in 
that manner. I would not allow it. I would 
hold up my finger and say, " B-a-a-a-a-a-by! " 
and it would understand and stop. It saw 
something in my eye that made it keep quiet. 
I have great influence over children. 

We went down by the lake again that sec 
ond day, and I read a good German book and 
let the baby rage. When it was crying it could 
not be sleeping, and it was far better to have it 
cry in the daytime than at night, when it dis 
turbed the whole house. 

The baby threw everything out of its car 
riage, even its coverlets and pillows, and tried 
to fall out itself, but it was tied in. It cried 
till it exhausted itself inventing new ways of 
screaming. I sat at a distance from it, so 
that its screaming would not annoy me too 
much, and read my book till it had finished. 
Then I went and got some ice cream for my 
self, and gave the baby very little. I wanted 
to teach it to do without things. It had been 
in the habit of getting everything it cried for, 
and that had made it hard to live with. That 
night, again, the baby went to sleep without 


rocking, and the young mother was much 
pleased with my management and gave me a 
nice silk waist. 

Day after day we went on like that. I took 
the baby some place where it could have its 
cry out without disturbing anybody, and I 
didn t allow it to sleep in the daytime, and so 
had it good and tired when night came on and 
other people wanted to sleep. It never failed 
to cry and struggle and throw its toys and 
food away, to show its rage, but I would have 
made a good baby of it had it not been for the 
mother and the maid. When I wasn t on hand 
they spoiled it by giving it all its own way. 
Even when I was on hand the mother was 
constantly running into the room and petting 
the baby. At its slightest cry she would come 
to see what it wanted, and hold things up for 
it to choose. 

This made discipline impossible, and in the 
end the baby was too much for me. I was 
made to carry it about, and to get up and walk 
with it in the night, and at last my health broke 
down and I actually had to go to a hospital. 

When I got out I stayed at my sister s for 
a month, and then went as a nursery governess 
in a family where there are three children, 
none of them over eight years of age. I have 
to teach them their lessons, including German, 
and to take them out driving and playing. I 
have recovered my health, but I will never 
again undertake to manage a strange baby. 


The duties are light; I have two afternoons 
a week to myself and practically all the cloth 
ing I need to wear. My salary is $25 a 

Wherever I have been employed here the 
food has always been excellent; in fact, pre 
cisely the same as that furnished to the em 
ployer s families. In Germany it is not so. 
Servants are all put on an allowance, and 
their food is very different from that given to 
their masters. 

I like this country. I have a great many 
friends in New York and I enjoy my outings 
with them. We go to South Beach or North 
Beach or Glen Island or Rockaway or Coney 
Island. If we go on a boat we dance all the 
way there and all the way back, and we dance 
nearly all the time we are there. 

I like Coney Island best of all. It is a won- 
derfuLand beautiful place. I took a German 
friend, a girl who had just come out, down 
there last week, and when we had been on the 
razzle-dazzle, the chute and the loop-the-loop, 
and down in the coal mine and all over the 
Bowery, and up in the tower and everywhere 
else, I asked her how she liked it. She said : 

" Ach, it is just like what I see when I dream 
of heaven." 

Yet I have heard some of the high people 

with whom I have been living say that Coney 

Island is not tony. The trouble is that these 

high people don t know how to dance. I have 



to laugh when I see them at their balls and 
parties. If only I could get out on the floor 
and show them how they would be aston 

Two years ago, when I was with a friend at 
Rockaway Beach, I was introduced to a young 
man who has since asked me to marry him. 
He is a German from the Rhine country, and 
has been ten years in this country. Of course 
he is a tall, dark man, because I am so small 
and fair. It is always that way. Some 
of our friends laugh at us and say that we look 
like a milestone walking with a mile, but I 
don t think that it is any of their business and 
tell them so. Such things are started by girls 
who are jealous because they have no steady 

I don t want to get married yet, because 
when a girl marries she can t have so much 
fun or rather, she can t go about with more 
than one young man. But being engaged is 
almost as bad. I went to the theater with 
another young man one night, and Herman 
was very angry. We had a good quarrel, and 
he did not come to see me for a week. 

A good-looking girl can have a fine time 
when she is single, but if she stays single too 
long she loses her good looks, and then no 
one will marry her. 

Of course I am young yet, but still, as my 
mother used to say, " It s better to be sure 
than sorry," and I think that I won t wait any 


longer. Some married women enjoy life 
almost as much as the young girls. 

Herman is the assistant in a large grocery 
store. He has been there nine years, and 
knows all the customers. He has money 
saved, too, and soon will go into business for 

And then, again, I like him, because I think 
he s the best dancer I ever saw. 



The cook whose story follows, lived for many years in the 
home of one of America s best known literary women, who 
has taken down her conversation in this form. 

I DON T know why anybody wants to hear 
my history. Nothing ever happened to 
me worth the tellin except when my mother 
died. Now she was an extraordinary person. 
The neighbors all respected her, an the min 
ister. " Go ask Mrs. McNabb," he d say to 
the women in the neighborhood here when they 
come wantin advice. 

But about me I was born nigh to Lima- 
vaddy ; it s a pretty town close to Londonderry. 
We lived in a peat cabin, but it had a good 
thatched roof. Mother put on that roof. It 
isn t a woman s work, but she was able for it. 

There were sivin childher of us. John an 

Matthew they went to Australia. Mother was 

layin by for five year to get their passage 

money. They went into the bush. We heard 

twice from thim and then no more. Not 

another word and that is forty year gone now 

on account of them not reading and writing. 

Learning isn t cheap in them old countries as 

it is here, you see. I suppose they re dead 



now John would be ninety now and in 
heaven. They were honest men. My mother 
sent Joseph to Londonderry to larn the weav 
er s trade. My father he never was a steddy 
worker. He took to the drink early in life, 
My mother an me an Tilly we worked in the 
field for Squire Varney. Yes, plowin an 
seedin and diggin any farm work he d give 
us. We did men s work, but we didn t get 
men s pay. No, of course not. In winter 
we did lace work for a merchant in London 
derry. (Ann still can embroider beautifully.) 
It was pleasanter nor diggin after my hands 
was fit for it. But it took two weeks every 
year to clean and soften my hands for the 

Pay was very small and the twins that was 
Maria and Philip they were too young to 
work at all. What did we eat? Well, just 
potatoes. On Sundays, once a month, we d 
maybe have a bit of flitch. When the pota 
toes rotted that was the hard times! Oh, 
yes, I mind the famine years. An the corn- 
meal that the Mericans sent. The folks said 
they d rather starve nor eat it. We didn t 
know how to cook it. Here I eat corn dodgers 
and fried mush fast enough. 

Maria she was one of the twins she died 
the famine year of the typhus and well, she 
sickened of the herbs and roots we eat we 
had no potatoes. 

Mother said when Maria died, " There s a 


curse on ould green Ireland and we ll get out 
of it." So we worked an saved for four 
year an then Squire Varney helped a bit an 
we sent Tilly to America. She had always 
more head than me. She came to Philadel 
phia and got a place for general housework 
at Mrs. Bent s. Tilly got but two dollars 
a week, bein a greenhorn. But she larned 
hand over hand, and Mrs. Bent kept no other 
help and laid out to teach her. She larned her 
to cook and bake and to wash and do up shirts 
all American fashion. Then Tilly axed 
three dollars a week. Mother always said, 
" Don t ax a penny more than you re worth. 
But know your own vally and ax that." 

She had no expenses and laid by money 
enough to bring me out before the year was 
gone. I sailed from Londonderry. The ship 
was a sailin vessel, the " Mary Jane." The 
passage was $12. You brought your own eat 
ing, your tea an meal, an most had flitch. 
There was two big stoves that we cooked on. 
The steerage was a dirty place and we were 
eight weeks on the voyage over time three 
weeks. The food ran scarce, I tell you, but 
the captain gave some to us, and them that had 
plenty was kind to the others. I ve heard bad 
stories of things that went on in the steerage 
in them old times smallpox and fevers and 
starvation and worse. But I saw nothing of 
them in my ship. The folks were decent and 
the captain was kind. 



When I got here Mrs. Bent let Tilly keep 
me for two months to teach me me bein such 
a greenhorn. Of course I worked for her. 
Mr. Bent was foreman then in Spangler s big 
mills. After two months I got a place. 
They were nice appearing people enough, but 
the second day I found out they were Jews. 
I never had seen a Jew before, so I packed my 
bag and said to the lady, " I beg your pardon, 
ma am, but I can t eat the bread of them as 
crucified the Saviour." " But," she said. " he 
was a Jew." So at that I put out. I couldn t 
hear such talk. Then I got a place for gen 
eral housework with Mrs. Carr. I got $2 till 
I learned to cook good, and then $3 and then 
$4. I was in that house as cook and nurse 
for twenty-two years. Tilly lived with the 
Bents till she died, eighteen years. Mr. Bent 
come to be partner in the mills and got rich, 
and they moved into a big house in German- 
town and kept a lot of help and Tilly was 
housekeeper. How did we keep our places 
so long? Well, I think me and Tilly was 
clean in our work and we was decent, and, of 
course, we was honest. Nobody living can 
say that one of the McNabbs ever wronged 
him of a cent. Mrs. Carr s interests was my 
interests. I took better care of her things 
than she did herself, and I loved the childher 
as if they was my own. She used to tell me 
my sin was I was stingy. I don t know. The 
McNabbs are no wasteful folk. I ve worn 


one dress nine year and it looked decent then. 
Me and Tilly saved till we brought Joseph 
and Phil over, and they went into Mr. Bent s 
mills as weaver and spool boy and then they 
saved, and we all brought out my mother and 
father. We rented a little house in Kensing 
ton for them. There was a parlor in it and 
kitchen and two bedrooms and bathroom and 
marble door step, and a bell. That was in 66, 
and we paid nine dollars a month rent. You d 
pay double that now. It took all our savings 
to furnish it, but Mrs. Bent and Mrs. Carr 
gave us lots of things to go in. To think of 
mother having a parlor and marble steps 
and a bell! They came on the old steamer 
" Indiana " and got here at night, and we had 
supper for them and the house all lighted 
up. Well, you ought to have seen mother s 
old face! I ll never forget that night if I live 
to be a hundred. After that mother took in 
boarders and Joseph and Phil was there. We 
all put every cent we earned into building asso 
ciations. So Tilly owned a house when she 
died and I own this one now. Our ladies told 
us how to put the money so as to breed more, 
and we never spent a cent we could save. 
Joseph pushed on and got big wages and 
started a flour store, and Phil went to night- 
school and got a place as clerk. He married 
a teacher in the Kensington public school. She 
was a showy miss ! Silk dress and feathers in 
her hat! 



Father died soon after he come. The drink 
here wasn t as wholesome for him as it was in 
Ireland. Poor father! He was a good- 
hearted man, but he wasn t worth a penny 
when he died. 

Mother lived to be eighty. She was re 
spected by all Kensington. The night she 
died she said: " I have much to praise God for. 
I haven t a child that is dependent on the day s 
work for the day s victuals. Every one of 
them owns a roof to cover him." 

Joseph did well in his flour store. He has 
a big one on Market Street now and lives in a 
pretty house out in West Philadelphia. He s 
one of the wardens in his church out there and 
his girls gives teas and goes to reading clubs. 

But Phil is the one to go ahead! His 
daughter Ann she was named for me, but 
she calls herself Antoinette is engaged to a 
young lawyer in New York. He gave her a 
diamond engagement ring the other day. 
And his son, young Phil, is in politics and a 
member of councils. He makes money hand 
over hand. He has an automobile and a fur 
coat, and you see his name at big dinners and 
him making speeches. No saving of pennies 
or building associations for Phil. 

It was Phil that coaxed me to give up work 
at Mrs. Carr s and to open my house for 
boarders here in Kensington. His wife didn t 
like to hear it said I was working in some 
body s kitchen. I ve done well with the 


boarders. I know just how to feed them so 
as to lay by a little sum every year. I heard 
that young Phil told some of his friends that 
he had a queer old aunt up in Kensington who 
played poor, but had a great store of money 
hoarded away. He shouldn t have told a 
story like that. But young folks will be 
young! I like the boy. He is certainly 
bringing the family into notice in the world. 
Last Sunday s paper had his picture and one 
of the young lady he is going to marry in New 
York. It called him the young millionaire 
McNabb. But I judge he s not that. He 
wanted to borrow the money I have laid by in 
the old bank at Walnut and Seventh the other 
day and said he d double it in a week. No 
such work as that for me! But the boy cer 
tainly is a credit to the family! 




This story of an Illinois farmer s wife is printed exactly as 
she penned it. 

I HAVE been a farmer s wife in one of 
the States of the Middle West for thir 
teen years, and everybody knows that the 
farmer s wife must of a necessity be a very 
practical woman, if she would be a successful 

I am not a practical woman and conse 
quently have been accounted a failure by prac 
tical friends and especially by my husband, 
who is wholly practical. 

We are told that the mating of people of 
opposite natures promotes intellectuality in 
the offspring; but I think that happy homes 
are of more consequence than extreme pre 
cocity of children. However, I believe that 
people who are thinking of mating do not 
even consider whether it is to be the one or the 

We do know that when people of opposite 
tastes get married there s a discordant note 
runs through their entire married life. It s 


only a question of which one has the stronger 
will in determining which tastes shall predom 

In our case my husband has the stronger 
will; he is innocent of book learning, is a nat 
ural hustler who believes that the only way to 
make an honest living lies in digging it out of 
the ground, so to speak, and being a farmer, 
he finds plenty of digging to do; he has an 
inherited tendency to be miserly, loves money 
for its own sake rather than for its purchasing- 
power, and when he has it in his possession he 
is loath to part with it, even for the most nec 
essary articles, and prefers to eschew hired 
help in every possible instance that what he 
does make may be his very own. 

No man can run a farm without some one to 
help him, and in this case I have always been 
called upon and expected to help do anything 
that a man would be expected to do; I began 
this when we were first married, when there 
were few household duties and no reasonable 
excuse for refusing to help. 

I was reared on a farm, was healthy and 
strong, was ambitious, and the work was not 
disagreeable, and having no children for the 
first six years of married life, the habit of 
going whenever asked to became firmly fixed, 
and he had no thought of hiring a man to 
help him, since I could do anything for which 
he needed help. 

I was always religiously inclined; brought 


up to attend Sunday school, not in a haphaz 
ard way, but to attend every Sunday all the 
year round, and when I was twelve years old 
I was appointed teacher to a Sunday school 
class, a position I proudly held until I married 
at eighteen years of age. 

I was an apt student at school and before I 
was eighteen I had earned a teacher s certifi 
cate of the second grade and would gladly have 
remained in school a few more years, but I 
had, unwittingly, agreed to marry the man who 
is now my husband, and though I begged to 
be released, his will was so much stronger that 
I was unable to free myself without wound 
ing a loving heart, and could hot find it in my 
nature to do so. 

All through life I have found my dislike 
for giving offense to be my undoing. When 
we were married and moved away from my 
home church, I fain would have adopted the 
church of my new residence, but my husband 
did not like to go to church; had rather go vis 
iting on Sundays, and rather than have my 
right hand give offense, I cut it off. 

I always had a passion for reading; during 
girlhood it was along educational lines; in 
young womanhood it was for love stories, 
which remained ungratified because my father 
thought it sinful to read stories of any kind, 
and especially love stories. 

Later, when I was married, I borrowed 
everything I could find in the line of novels 


and stories, and read them by stealth still, for 
my husband thought it a willful waste of time 
to read anything and that it showed a lack of 
love for him if I would rather read than to 
talk to him when I had a few moments of 
leisure, and, in order to avoid giving offense 
and still gratify my desire, I would only 
read when he was not at the house, thereby 
greatly curtailing my already too limited read - 
ing hours. 

In reading miscellaneously I got glimpses 
now and then of the great poets and authors, 
which aroused a great desire for a thorough 
perusal of them all ; but up till the present time 
I have not been permitted to satisfy this desire. 
As the years have rolled on there has been more 
work and less leisure until is only by the great 
est effort that I may read current news. 

It is only during the last three years that I 
have had the news to read, for my husband is 
so very penurious that he would never consent 
to subscribing for papers of any kind and that 
old habit of avoiding that which would give 
offense was so fixed that I did not dare to 
break it. 

The addition of two children to our family 
never altered or interfered with the established 
order of things to any appreciable extent. 
My strenuous outdoor life agreed with me, and 
even when my children were born, I was 
splendidly prepared for the ordeal and made 
rapid recovery. I still hoed and tended the 


truck patches and garden, still watered the 
stock and put out feed for them, still went to 
the hay field and helped harvest and house the 
bounteous crops ; still helped harvest the golden 
grain later on when the cereals ripened; often 
took one team and dragged ground to prepare 
the seed-bed for wheat for weeks at the time, 
while my husband was using the other team on 
another farm which he owns several miles 

W hile the children were babies they were left 
at the house, and when they were larger they 
would go with me to my work; now they are 
large enough to help a little during the sum 
mer and to go to school in winter; they help a 
great deal during the fruit canning season- 
in fact, can and do work at almost everything, 
pretty much as I do. 

All the season, from the coming in of the 
first fruits until the making of mince-meat at 
Christmas time, I put up canned goods for 
future use; gather in many bushels of field 
beans and the other crops usually raised on 
the farm; make sour-kraut, ketchup, pickles, 

This is a vague, general idea of how I spend 
my time ; my work is so varied that it would be 
difficult, indeed, to describe a typical day s 

Any bright morning in the latter part of 
May I am out of bed at four o clock; next, 
after I have dressed and combed my hair, I 


start a fire in the kitchen stove, and while the 
stove is getting hot I go to my flower garden 
and gather a choice, half -blown rose and a 
spray of bride s wreath, and arrange them in 
my hair, and sweep the floors and then cook 

While the other members of the family are 
eating breakfast I strain away the morning s 
milk (for my husband milks the cows while I 
get breakfast), and fill my husband s dinner- 
pail, for he will go to work on our other farm 
for the day. 

By this time it is half -past five o clock, my 
husband is gone to his work, and the stock 
loudly pleading to be turned into the pas 
tures. The younger cattle, a half-dozen 
steers, are left in the pasture at night, and I 
now drive the two cows, a half-quarter mile 
and turn them in with the others, come back, 
and then there s a horse in the barn that be 
longs in a field where there is no water, which 
I take to a spring quite a distance from the 
barn; bring it back and turn it into a field 
with the sheep, a dozen in number, which are 
housed at night. 

The young calves are then turned out into 
the warm sunshine, and the stock hogs, w T hich 
are kept in a pen, are clamoring for feed, and 
I carry a pailful of swill to them, and hasten 
to the house and turn out the chickens and put 
out feed and water for them, and it is, per 
haps, 6.30 A. M. 



I have not eaten breakfast yet, but that can 
wait; I make the beds next and straighten 
things up in the living room, for I dislike to 
have the early morning caller find my house 
topsy-turvy. When this is done I go to the 
kitchen, which also serves as a dining-room, 
and uncover the table, and take a mouthful of 
food occasionally as I pass to and fro at my 
work until my appetite is appeased. 

By the time the work is done in the kitchen 
it is about 7.15 A. M., and the cool morning 
hours have flown, and no hoeing done in the 
garden yet, and the children s toilet has to be 
attended to and churning has to be done. 

Finally the children are washed and churn 
ing done, and it is eight o clock, and the sun 
getting hot, but no matter, weeds die quickly 
when cut down in the heat of the day, and I 
use the hoe to a good advantage until the din 
ner hour, which is 11.30 A. M. We come in, 
and I comb my hair, and put fresh flowers in 
it, and eat a cold dinner, put out feed and 
water for the chickens; set a hen, perhaps, 
sweep the floors again; sit down and rest, and 
read a few moments, and it is nearly one 
o clock, and I sweep the door yard while I am 
waiting for the clock to strike the hour. 

I make and sow a flower bed, dig around 
some shrubbery, and go back to the garden to 
hoe until time to do the chores at night, but 
ere long some hogs come up to the back gate, 
through the wheat field, and when I go to see 


what is wrong I find that the cows have torn 
the fence down, and they, too, are in the wheat 

With much difficulty I get them back into 
their own domain and repair the fence. I hoe 
in the garden till four o clock; then I go into 
the house and get supper, and prepare some 
thing for the dinner pail to-morrow; when 
supper is all ready it is set aside, and I pull 
a few hundred plants of tomato, sweet potato 
or cabbage for transplanting, set them in a 
cool, moist place where they will not wilt, and 
I then go after the horse, water him, and put 
him in the barn ; call the sheep and house them, 
and go after the cows and milk them, feed the 
hogs, put down hay for three horses, and put 
oats and corn in their troughs, and set those 
plants and come in and fasten up the chickens, 
and it is dark. By this time it is 8 o clock 
p. M. ; my husband has come home, and we are 
eating supper; when we are through eating I 
make the beds ready, and the children and 
their father go to bed, and I wash the dishes 
and get things in shape to get breakfast 
quickly next morning. 

It is now about 9 o clock p. M V and after a 
short prayer I retire for the night. 

As a matter of course, there s hardly two 
days together which require the same routine, 
yet every day is as fully occupied in some way 
or other as this one, with varying tasks as the 
seasons change. In early spring we are plant- 


ing potatoes, making plant beds, planting gar 
den, early corn patches, setting strawberries, 
planting corn, melons, cow peas, sugar cane, 
beans, popcorn, peanuts, etc. 

Oats are sown in March and April, but I do 
not help do that, because the ground is too 

Later in June we harvest clover hay, in July 
timothy hay, and in August pea hay. 

Winter wheat is ready to harvest the latter 
part of June, and oats the middle of July. 

These are the main crops, supplemented by 
cabbages, melons, potatoes, tomatoes, etc. 

Fully half of my time is devoted to helping 
my husband, more than half during the active 
work season, and not that much during the 
winter months ; only a very small portion of my 
time is devoted to reading. My reading mat 
ter accumulates during the week, and I think 
I will stay at home on Sunday and read, but as 
we have many visitors on Sunday I am gener 
ally disappointed. 

I sometimes visit my friends on Sunday 
because they are so insistent that I should, 
though I would prefer spending the day read 
ing quietly at home. I have never had a vaca 
tion, but if I should be allowed one I should 
certainly be pleased to spend it in an art gal 

As winter draws nigh I make snug all the 
vegetables and apples, pumpkins, and such 
things as would damage by being frozen, and 

[ 158 ] 


gather in the various kinds of nuts which grow 
in our woods to eat during the long, cold 

My husband s work keeps him away from 
home during the day all the winter, except in 
extremely inclement weather, and I feed and 
water the stock, which have been brought in off 
the pastures; milk the cows and do all the 
chores which are to be done about a farm in 

By getting up early and hustling around 
pretty lively I do all this and countless other 
things; keep house in a crude, simple manner; 
wash, make and mend our clothes; make rag 
carpets, cultivate and keep more flowers than 
anybody in the neighborhood, raise some 
chickens to sell and some to keep, and even 
teach instrumental music sometimes. 

I have always had an itching to write, and, 
with all my multitudinous cares, I have writ 
ten, in a fitful way, for several papers, which 
do not pay for such matter, just because I was 
pleased to see my articles in print. 

I have a long list of correspondents, who 
write regularly and often to me, and, by hook 
and crook, I keep up with my letter-writing, 
for, next to reading, I love to write and re 
ceive letters, though my husband says I will 
break him up buying so much writing material ; 
when, as a matter of course, I pay for it out of 
my own scanty income. 

I am proud of my children, and have, from 


the time they were young babies, tried to make 
model children of them. They were not 
spoiled as some babies are, and their education 
was begun when I first began to speak to them, 
with the idea of not having the work to do over 
later on. True, they did not learn to spell 
until they were old enough to start to school, 
because I did not have time to teach them 
that ; but, in going about my work, I told them 
stories of all kinds, in plain, simple language 
which they could understand, and after once 
hearing a story they could repeat it in their 
own way, which did not differ greatly from 
mine, to any one who cared to listen, for they 
were not timid or afraid of anybody. 

I have watched them closely, and never have 
missed an opportunity to correct their errors 
until their language is as correct as that of the 
average adult, as far as their vocabulary goes, 
and I have tried to make it as exhaustive as my 
time would permit. 

I must admit that there is very little time 
for the higher life for myself, but my soul 
cries out for it, and my heart is not in my 
homely duties; they are done in a mechanical 
abstracted way, not worthy of a woman of high 
ambitions; but my ambitions are along other 

I do not mean to say that I have no ambition 
to do my work well, and to be a model house 
keeper, for I would scorn to slight my work in- 


tentionally; it is just this way: There are so 
many outdoor duties that the time left for 
household duties is so limited that I must rush 
through them, with a view to getting each 
one done in the shortest possible time, in order 
to get as many things accomplished as pos 
sible, for there is never time to do half as 
much as needs to be done. 

All the time that I have been going about 
this work I have been thinking of things I 
have read; of things I have on hand to read 
when I can get time, and of other things 
which I have a desire to read, but cannot hope 
to while the present condition exists. 

As a natural consequence, there are, daily, 
numerous instances of absentmindedness on 
my part ; many things left undone that I really 
could have done by leaving off something else 
of less importance, if I had not forgotten the 
thing of the more importance. My husband 
never fails to remind me that it is caused by 
my reading so much; that I would get along 
much better if I should never see a book or 
paper, while really I would be distracted if all 
reading matter was taken from me. 

I use an old fashioned churn, and the proc 
ess of churning occupies from thirty minutes 
to three hours, according to the condition of 
the cream, and I always read something while 
churning, and though that may look like a poor 
way to attain self -culture, yet if your reading 


is of the nature to bring about that desirable 
result, one will surely be greatly benefited by 
these daily exercises. 

But if one is just reading for amusement, 
they might read a great deal more than that 
and not derive any great benefit ; but my read 
ing has always been for the purpose of becom 
ing well informed; and when knitting stock 
ings for the family I always have a book or 
paper in reading distance; or, if I have a 
moment to rest or to wait on something, I pick 
up something and read during the time. I 
even take a paper with me to the fields and read 
while I stop for rest. 

I often hear ladies remark that they do not 
have time to read. I happen to know that 
they have a great deal more time than I do, 
but not having any burning desire to read, the 
time is spent in some other way ; often spent at 
a neighbor s house gossiping about the other 

I suppose it is impossible for a woman to 
do her best at everything which she would like 
to do, but I really would like to. I almost cut 
sleep out of my routine in trying to keep up 
all the rows which I have started in on; in the 
short winter days I just get the cooking and 
house straightening done in addition to looking 
after the stock and poultry, and make a gar 
ment occasionally, and wash and iron the 
clothes; all the other work is done after night 
by lamp light, and when the work for the day 


is over, or at least the most pressing part of it, 
and the family are all asleep and no one to 
forbid it, I spend a few hours writing or 

The minister who performed the marriage 
ceremony for us has always taken a kindly 
interest in our fortunes and, knowing of my 
literary bent, has urged me to turn it to ac 
count ; but there seemed to be so little time and 
opportunity that I could not think seriously of 
it, although I longed for a literary career ; but 
my education had been dropped for a dozen 
years or more, and I knew that I was not prop 
erly equipped for that kind of a venture. 

This friend was so insistent that I was in 
duced to compete for a prize in a short story 
contest in a popular magazine not long since, 
though I entered it fully prepared for a 

About that time there came in my way the 
literature of a correspondence school which 
would teach, among other things, short story 
writing by mail; it set forth all the advantages 
of a literary career and proposed properly to 
equip its students in that course for a consid 

This literature I greedily devoured, and felt 
that I could not let the opportunity slip, 
though I despaired of getting my husband s 

I presented the remunerative side of it to 
him, but he could only see the expense of tak- 


ing the course, and wondered how I could find 
time to spend in the preparation, even if it 
should be profitable in the end; but he believed 
it was all a humbug; that they would get my 
money and I would hear from them no more. 

When I had exhausted my arguments to no 
avail, I sent my literary friend to him, to try 
his persuasive powers. The two of us, finally, 
gained his consent, but it was on condition that 
the venture was to be kept profoundly secret, 
for he felt sure that there would be nothing 
but failure, and he desired that no one should 
know of it and have cause for ridicule. 

Contrary to his expectations the school has 
proven very trustworthy, and I am in the 
midst of a course of instruction which is very 
pleasing to me ; and I find time for study and 
exercise between the hours of eight and eleven 
at night, when the family are asleep and quiet. 
I am instructed to read a great deal, with a 
certain purpose in view, but that is impossible, 
sincel had to promise my husband that I would 
drop all my papers, periodicals, etc., on which 
I was paying out money for subscription be 
fore he would consent to my taking the course. 
This I felt willing to do, that I might prepare 
myself for more congenial tasks; I hope to 
accomplish something worthy of note in a lit 
erary way since I have been a failure in all 
other pursuits. One cannot be anything in 
particular as Ion 3* as they try to be everything, 
and my motto has always been: " Strive to 


Excel," and it has caused worry wrinkles to 
mar my countenance, because I could not, un 
der the circumstances, excel in any particular 

I have a few friends who are so anxious for 
my success that they are having certain publi 
cations of reading matter sent to me at their 
own expense ; however, there s only a very lim 
ited number who know of my ambitions. 

My friends have always been so kind as not 
to hint that I had not come up to their expec 
tations in various lines, but I inwardly knew 
that they regarded me as a financial failure; 
they knew that my husband would not allow 
the money that was made off the farm to be 
spent on the family, but still they knew of 
other men who did the same, yet the wives 
managed some way to have money of their 
own and to keep up the family expenses and 
clothe themselves and children nicely anyhow, 
but they did not seem to take into account that 
these thrifty wives had the time all for their 
own in which to earn a livelihood while my 
time was demanded by my husband, to be 
spent in doing things for him which would 
contribute to the general proceeds of the farm, 
yet would add nothing to my income, since I 
was supposed to look to my own resources for 
my spending money. 

When critical housewives spend the day with 
me I always feel that my surroundings appear 
to a disadvantage. They cannot possibly 


know the inside workings of our home, and 
knowing myself to be capable of the proper 
management of a home if I had the chance 
of others, I feel like I am receiving a mental 
criticism from them which is unmerited, and 
when these smart neighbors tell me proudly 
how many young chicks they have, and how 
many eggs and old hens they have sold during 
the year, I am made to feel that they are crow 
ing over their shrewdness, which they regard 
as lacking in me, because they will persist in 
measuring my opportunities by their own. 

I might add that the neighbors among whom 
I live are illiterate and unmusical, and that my 
redeeming qualities, in their eyes, are my 
superior education and musical abilities; they 
are kind enough to give me more than justice 
on these qualities because they are poor judges 
of such matters. 

But money is king, and if I might turn my 
literary bent to account, and surround my 
self with the evidences of prosperity, I may 
yet hope fully to redeem myself in their eyes, 
and I know that I will have attained my 
ambition in that line. 




This is the story of a handicapped life. Its author is a preacher 
in the Southern Methodist Church. 

I WAS born in a fine old county of one of 
the Southern States. My father was a 
German, and came to this country when a 
young man. He was a steady, industrious, 
frugal man, and made many friends in his 
new home. He worked on one of the first 
railroads built in the South, serving in the 
capacity of a " track-raiser," or section fore 
man, for more than a dozen years. He then 
bought a farm and moved to it when I was 
about five years old, and it was on this farm 
that my childhood was spent. My mother be 
longed to one of the oldest families of the 
county, and was a woman of good sense and de 
cided character. There were eight children of 
us, three sons and five daughters. My mother 
had two brothers who were afflicted with cat 
aract. And this same infirmity showed it 
self in our family in one of those strange 
freaks of heredity. My oldest brother devel 
oped cataract on his eyes several years after 


birth, while in my younger brother and myself 
it was congenital. And my case was the 
worst of the three, and worse than either of 
my maternal uncles. One of my earliest and 
most vivid recollections is the first of four op 
erations on my eyes for this trouble. It was 
before I was five years old and long before 
the days of local anesthesias. I was placed 
full length on a bench, tied hand and foot, 
my head was grasped firmly, and my eyes, 
first one and then the other, were held open, 
while the doctor inserted a sharp needle, and 
attempted to cut up the cataract, hoping that 
the particles would be taken up by absorption. 
It was only after the third of these operations 
that I experienced any great benefit. I was 
then thirteen years old, and large enough to 
submit quietly to the operation. I remember 
it all so well. It was a day in May. I sat 
down before a window, and the doctor inserted 
his needle in the right eye. A moment later 
he had pressed the cataract from over the 
sight. And then, as if a dense fog had sud 
denly rolled away, there burst upon my view 
such a vision of field and sky and sunlight as 
I had never looked upon before. I forgot the 
pain of the operation, and broke out into rap 
turous exclamations of delight. That was 
over forty years ago, but that day in May and 
that afternoon hour marked an epoch in my 
life. Afterwards I could see to read ordinary 



But the sight these successive operations left 
with me was far from perfect vision. The 
reading I was enabled to do, and that which I 
have done all my life, was with the right eye 
there is still some cataract on the left eye 
and by the aid of the strongest glasses that 
could be had. These glasses were double con 
vex, and looked like the lenses of a microscope. 

I entered school at thirteen. The teachers 
were very kind to me, and took much interest 
in putting me forward in my studies. These 
were war times in the South, and spectacles, 
like many other things, w r ere not easily ob 
tained, so my younger brother and myself 
were forced to use the same pair of glasses in 
school. But I learned many of my lessons 
through the eye of others, especially two girl 
cousins of mine, and got on pretty well. By 
the end of the first year I could read readily, 
and had taken some lessons in geography and 
history, as well as arithmetic. 

I attended school a part of every year after 
this until I was twenty-one years old, during 
which period I read some, or all, of the works 
of Hume, Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, 
Washington Irving, and many books by 
authors of less note and ability, and acquired 
a fair knowledge of Latin, a little knowl 
edge of Greek, went into geometry in 
mathematics, and gained a pretty thorough 
acquaintance with the English branches. It 
was my hope that when I should be ready to 


go, I could enter the old college, whose bell 
we could almost hear from our home. But 
my father died very suddenly in June, when I 
was in my twentieth year, and while he left an 
estate of several thousand dollars, our affairs 
were not well managed, and I did not have the 
opportunity of completing my education in 
this way. 

When I reached twenty-one I was con 
fronted by a serious question: What should 
my life work be? Farm work was out of the 
question, the printer s trade, which I should 
have preferred to everything else, was equally 
so! no merchant wanted a clerk who was too 
blind to wait on his customers, and school- 
teaching seemed as impracticable as any of the 
rest. Through the help of an uncle, I got a 
little school, which was taught in one end of an 
abandoned log cabin. This lasted only a few 
months, and was the beginning and end of my 
experience in the work of a teacher. 

Ours was a religious home. Family prayers 
was one of the institutions of the home, and 
my part in this after I was ten years old- 
was to set the hymns, which my father lined 
out in the good old way of our ancestors. And 
I was a religious child. I often prayed that 
I might see well, and it would have been no 
surprise to my childish faith if the Heavenly 
Father had taken me at my word, and allowed 
me to open my eyes on the world with the sight 
that others had. I was consciously and satis- 


factorily converted when I was in my six 
teenth year, and some time afterwards con 
nected myself with the Methodist Church. 
Because I showed a religious bent, perhaps, 
and possibly because they could see nothing 
for me but the work of the ministry, my 
friends and family used to tell me that they 
thought I ought to preach. But what they 
said rather hindered than helped me. I be 
lieved then, as I do now, that every true 
preacher is called of God, as was Aaron, and to 
preach because I could do nothing else, seemed 
little less than sacrilege. But after a hard 
and very honest struggle over the question, I 
decided to give my life to the ministry, and 
was licensed to preach at twenty-two. A year 
later I was recommended for admission on 
trial in the itinerancy, but the presiding elder 
under whom I was licensed to preach, told me 
very plainly that he did not think I could see 
well enough to be a traveling Methodist 
preacher. He was a brother of one of the 
bishops, and a man of much influence, and 
there seemed no appeal from his decision. 

This decision quite upset me. My mother s 
affairs were in such a condition that I could 
no longer depend upon her for my living. 
But what should rather, what could I do? 
There was still left to me my license as a local 
preacher; but there was nothing in this work 
in the way of an occupation, and no compensa 
tion whatever. And while I was willing 


enough to preach the Gospel " without money 
and without price," I must live the while. For 
some months this year I had the very uncom 
fortable consciousness of living a useless life. 
In the spring, however, a distant kinsman, 
whom my father, several years before, had set 
up in business, offered me a position in the 
railroad station and post office in the village, 
two miles away, saying as he did so: "I will 
give you your board at first, and if everything 
works well will give you some clothes later." 
I accepted the place at once, and went to work 
in five minutes after the offer was made. I 
worked here nearly six months before I re 
ceived more than my board. I remained here 
three years and a half, the highest salary I re 
ceived at any time being only twelve dollars a 
month, out of which I paid seven dollars a 
month board. My duties were miscellaneous. 
I helped to load and unload freight, handled 
many a bale of cotton during the season from 
September till April, lifted numberless bags 
of highly scented commercial fertilizers, 
looked after the post office, and did just any 
thing my employer could find for me to do. 
I had much leisure in the summer, which, with 
odd times at other seasons, I spent in reading 
and writing. I went over the Bible every 
year, took up the course of study for young 
preachers, and did what preaching I could, 
often walking five or six miles to an appoint 
ment. All the time I was longing and hoping 


against hope that one day I might be admitted 
to the Conference, and give my whole time to 
the ministry. At last this longed-for oppor 
tunity came. Some of my friends took it into 
their heads that I could see sufficiently well to 
do the work of an itinerant preacher, used 
their influence with the presiding elder, the 
same one who had kept me waiting over three 
years, and just as I was nearing my twenty- 
seventh birthday I found myself enrolled as a 
member of one of the Conferences of my 
Church and about the happiest man in it. 

My experiences at the first annual Con 
ference I ever attended were of the superla 
tive degree. I alternated between hope and 
fear at first as to whether I should be received, 
and after this suspense was over, I wondered 
with fear and trembling what my appointment 
would be. And when, on the last day of the 
session appointments are always read out 
just before the Conference adjourns sine die 
I sat with two hundred men, who, like myself, 
were waiting for the Bishop to announce our 
fields of labor for another year, I think I must 
have had some of the feelings of a soldier 
just on the eve of battle. The Bishop read 
slowly, allowing the secretary to copy his an 
nouncements first the name of the charge and 
then the name of the preacher. I was sitting 
with a neighbor-boy who, like myself, had just 
been accepted by the Conference. The Bishop 
came to his name first, giving him a place as 


junior preacher on the hardest work, perhaps, 
in the whole territory embraced in the Confer 
ence. And then, after some time, which 
really seemed very long, he came to me. 
," he read, and then, after the sec 
retary had written the name, he read out my 
name. And I was delighted. The town was 
only twenty-five miles from my home, the cir 
cuit seemed very desirable for many reasons, 
and I really felt flattered by the appointment. 
But my rejoicing was not for long. I discov 
ered in a little while that the course of the 
itinerant is like the course of true love, in that 
it doesn t always run smoothly. 

I left home about the 1st of January with 
a small trunk that held a few clothes and a 
small number of books, and about three dollars 
in money, which some of my friends were 
kind enough to give me. The welcome I re 
ceived was about as cold as the day s ride in an 
open buggy had been. Things were in con 
fusion. The town church had been cut off 
from a strong circuit, and associated with it 
were three weak churches. The people of the 
town church had held a meeting and passed 
resolutions to the effect that, " if they w r ere not 
restored to their original circuit, they would 
withdraw from the connection." There was 
nothing for me to do but to wait until the 
proper authorities decided the question at 
issue, and to go on with my work with as little 
friction as might be. On Saturday before the 


first Sunday I walked four miles through the 
snow, facing a bitter northwest wind, to one 
of the country churches, and found two breth 
ren awaiting me. To these I talked on some 
verses of the Thirty-fourth Psalm. The next 
day more came, and I preached on Philip- 
pians 3: 13, 14. That first week I visited and 
prayed with fifteen families, walking five and 
six miles a day through the mud and melting 

I remained on this circuit about three weeks, 
when I was ordered by my presiding elder to 
go to the - - mission. Here I had some 

new towns on a new line of railroad, with two 
country churches, to which I walked over roads 
that were little better than bridle paths. The 
country was hilly and much broken ; the people 
outside of the towns lived in very plain houses, 
often with only one room; my fare for days to 
gether, when away from home, was only coarse 
corn bread, fat bacon, and coffee without 
cream or sugar and not a church on the work 
had a stove, or was ceiled. One of them was 
even without a door shutter. But the people 
were kind, open-hearted folk, my boarding 
place was very agreeable and I was quite con 
tented. I remained there two years, receiving 
an average salary of about $165 a year. I paid 
my landlady ten dollars a month, from which 
she deducted the time that I was away from 
home. I bought as many books as my salary 
would warrant, but it was years after this be- 


fore I had a full set of commentaries on the 
Bible, or anything in the way of an encyclo 
pedia. This lack forced me to be my own com 
mentator, which I have continued to be most of 
my life since. I have found that it is better to 
read the Bible than to read about it. 

The next year I had a circuit with two towns 
and four country churches, and which paid me 
less than $150. The fourth year, however, I 
got on better. I had a charge that embraced 
six churches, all in a rough country, and 
twenty-five miles from one extreme to another. 
I rode this circuit on a mule, which, together 
with board, washing and the kindest attention, 
was furnished me by Brother H , for eight 
dollars a month. My home was in the coun 
try, three miles from the post office, and I did 
the most satisfactory year s reading of my 
whole life. Brother H s wife was the hardest 
worked woman I have ever known, I think. 
She cooked, did her washing and house-clean 
ing, milked a cow or two, looked after three 
small children, and found time to help her 
husband in the field. I received about $300 
this year, and saved enough out of it to buy a 
beautiful pony the next year. 

I spent the next three years in the county 
of - . Here I had much success in my 
work. A great revival swept over the county, 
in which others were more useful than myself, 
and I received about 175 into the Church. 
Five young men, who are now preachers, took 


their start in religious work during these years, 
and I call them " my boys." 

After being in the itinerancy nine years, I 
decided to marry. I had received an average 
salary of $200 a year, but I was assured by my 
presiding elder that if I would marry, better 
provision would be made for me. I found a 
sensible, religious country girl, who, after 
some persuasion, consented to share my itiner 
ant lot, and so, just before Conference met, 
we were married, and went to the session a 
very happy bridal couple. And we got a 
good appointment. 

Our first parsonage was a three-room cot 
tage, unpainted, with only one room ceiled, 
and a little veranda, on which morning glories 
were trained to grow in great luxuriance that 
summer. We remained here two years, dur 
ing which the church prospered greatly. 
About a hundred members were taken in, and 
the finances of the charge improved consider 
ably ; and our salary of some $450 a year gave 
us a comfortable support. Our first child 
was born this year, a boy, who is nearly eigh 
teen now. 

The most trying period of my life came some 
years later. We spent some time in a malarial 
section of the State, and my nervous system 
was so much affected by this poison that I was 
unable to preach for several months. And be 
fore I had fully recovered from this attack 
the mother of my children sickened and died 


of rapid consumption. She left me with three 
children, six, nine and twelve years of age 
respectively, with no settled home, and health 
much broken. But I was among my kindred 
at the time, my old mother came to my house, 
and after a year and a half, I found another 
good woman as my w r ife, and the mother of 
my children. 

I have now been an itinerant Methodist 
preacher almost twenty-eight years. My sal 
ary, since I was married, has averaged $380 a 
year, exclusive of house rent. I have only 
once or twice left a circuit in debt to any one 
in it, and am to-day free from financial em 
barrassment. I am now serving my twentieth 
pastoral charge, and these frequent changes 
from one pastorate to another, which have in 
one or two instances involved moves of two 
hundred miles or more, have greatly added to 
the expenses of the work. I have paid out 
three or four hundred dollars in railroad and 
hack fares, and in freight charges, besides the 
loss incident to breaking up and moving from 
one place to another. I have kept a horse 
fifteen years, and a buggy about a dozen, have 
had one horse to die and another to go blind, 
and the buggy I now have is almost like the 
wonderful one-horse chaise, just before that 
classic vehicle w r ent to pieces. My sight is suf 
ficient to enable me to drive over plain and 
familiar roads. 

We find it necessary to be economical. Our 


living is simple. In the morning we have bis 
cuit and butter and bacon gravy, with a little 
ham now and then, and chicken in the sum 
mer, and fresh pork when our neighbors fur 
nish it in winter. We also have coffee for 
my wife and myself, and " kettle tea " for the 
children. At dinner, we have vegetables, such 
as beans, potatoes and corn, during the sum 
mer, with good bread, home-made, and some 
times a simple dessert. At supper, which we 
generally have about night-fall, we have 
bread and butter, with fruit, when we can get 
it, and milk or tea. We have occupied nine 
different parsonages, and attached to these 
have generally been lots large enough for a 
good garden and sundry patches. On our 
present lot we hope to make a light bale of 
cotton this year. I usually buy one good suit 
of clothes every two or three years, which I 
save for marriages, funerals and strictly Sun 
day wear, making less costly clothes answer 
for everyday wear. These best suits usually 
cost about fifteen dollars, and I get them 
ready-made out of the stores. My wife usu 
ally makes her own dresses, and does most of 
the sewing for the family. We keep no ser 
vants, but put out the washing and ironing, 
which costs -about fifty cents a week. We gen 
erally rise about six, have breakfast an hour 
later, the little girls go to school, after wash 
ing the dishes my son has been away from 
home most of the time for a year, attend- 


ing school and my wife and I put things to 
rights in our room, and then sit down for a 
quiet morning s work. I find the hours be 
fore twelve o clock in the day much the best 
time in the whole twenty-four for study. I 
find it hard to be regular in my habits of study. 
A trip of six to twelve miles in the country 
must be made every other week to preach at 
the churches away from my home, and the de 
mand for visiting is a constant draft on my 
time. My preaching has been plain, and ex 
temporaneous, after careful general prepara 
tion. I have tried to take the great themes of 
the Bible and present them in such ways and 
words as would bring them within the com 
prehension of the common people. I have 
had pastoral connection with about one hun 
dred different congregations, in twenty-four 
different counties of my native State, and I 
am sure I have preached to at least fifty thou 
sand different people. I have received about 
one thousand members into the Church, and 
have seen a number of gracious revivals. I 
have reason to know that I have done some 
good and reason to believe that I have done 
some of which I have had no knowledge. A 
few years ago, at a Conference session, I was 
introduced to a young preacher, who said, 
" Why, I know you already. At - - camp 
ground, some ten or twelve years ago, I heard 
you preach on Sunday night. Under that 
sermon I was convicted and converted, and 


so were fifteen others." And this man had 
been preaching several years, though I had 
never met him before. 

I have gathered a collection of good books, 
but have not been able to buy many new works 
as they have come from the press. I have not 
yet gotten over my penchant for literary work, 
and recently have written a novel, which seems 
not good enough, or mayhap, bad enough, to 
meet the demands of publishers. It deals 
with a living question, though it is not a 
" problem " novel. The scene is laid in the 
South, but there is not a " Colonel," nor a 
" Judge " in it, a fact which ought to com 
mend it to the favor of intelligent people. 

I suppose I have been hindered in my work 
by my defective sight. At any rate, I have 
been told a number of times that nothing but 
this stood in the way of my promotion. But 
it has not hindered me from traveling some of 
the largest and hardest circuits in my Confer 
ence. But it has saved me from the envy and 
jealousy of other preachers, and that is some 
thing to be thankful for. This same defective 
sight has had its compensations in many ways. 
The world in which I have lived has had more 
mysteries in it than the world of those who see 
well, and larger room for imagination, and 
for those poetic fancies which give the earth 
and sky and sun and stars a beauty that is not 
otherwise their own. And there have been 
other compensations. The very effort neces- 


sary to acquire the knowledge that I have 
gathered has made me husband it all the more 
carefully. I could not lightly throw away 
that which cost me so much. 

I have been a conservative in thought and 
faith. Two great facts in my experience, my 
conversion and my call to the ministry, has 
served as mordants to my faith. I have be 
lieved that it was my business to find out the 
truths, and not the errors of the -Bible. My 
observation of men, and my reading of history, 
have taught me that the men who have had 
largest influence with God and their fellows, 
have been the men who have adhered most 
steadfastly to the standards of faith. Upon 
the whole, as Horace Bushnell says, it has been 
a great thing to me to have lived. 




The following chapter was obtained from an interview with 
a Georgia negro who is a victim of the new slavery of the South. 

I AM a negro and was born some time dur 
ing the war in Elbert County, Ga., and 
I reckon by this time I must be a little over 
forty years old. My mother was not married 
when I was born, and I never knew who my 
father was or anything about him. Shortly 
after the war my mother died, and I was left 
to the care of my uncle. All this happened 
before I was eight years old, and so I can t 
remember very much about it. When I was 
about ten years old my uncle hired me out to 
Captain - . I had already learned how 
to plow, and was also a good hand at picking 
cotton. I was told that the Captain wanted 
me for his house-boy, and that later on he was 
going to train me to be his coachman. To 
be a coachman in those days was considered a 
post of honor, and young as I was, I was glad 
of the chance. But I had not been at the 
Captain s a month before I was put to work 
on the farm, with some twenty or thirty other 
negroes men, women and children. From 


the beginning the boys had the same tasks as 
the men and women. There was no differ 
ence. We all worked hard during the week, 
and would frolic on Saturday nights and often 
on Sundays. And everybody was happy. 
The men got $3 a week and the women $2. 
I don t know what the children got. Every 
week my uncle collected my money for me, 
but it was very little of it that I ever saw. My 
uncle fed and clothed me, gave me a place to 
sleep, and allowed me ten or fifteen cents a 
week for " spending change," as he called it. 
I must have been seventeen or eighteen years 
old before I got tired of that arrangement, 
and felt that I was man enough to be working 
for myself and handling my own wages. 
The other boys about my age and size were 
" drawing " their own pay, and they used to 
laugh at me and call me " Baby " because my 
old uncle was always on hand to " draw " my 
pay. Worked up by these things, I made a 
break for liberty. Unknown to my uncle or 
the Captain I went off to a neighboring plan 
tation and hired myself out to another man. 
The new landlord agreed to give me forty 
cents a day and furnish me one meal. I 
thought that was doing fine. Bright and 
early one Monday morning I started for 
work, still not letting the others know any 
thing about it. But they found it out before 
sundown. The Captain came over to the 
new place and brought some kind of officer of 


the law. The officer pulled out a long piece 
of paper from his pocket and read it to my 
new employer. When this was done I heard 
my new boss say: 

" I beg your pardon, Captain. I didn t 
know this nigger was bound out to you, or I 
wouldn t have hired him." 

"He certainly is bound out to me," said the 
Captain. " He belongs to me until he is 
twenty-one, and I m going to make him know 
his place." 

So I was carried back to the Captain s. 
That night he made me strip off my clothing 
down to my waist, had me tied to a tree in his 
backyard, ordered his foreman to give me 
thirty lashes with a buggy whip across my bare 
back, and stood by until it was done. After 
that experience the Captain made me stay on 
his place night and day, but my uncle still 
continued to " draw " my money. 

I was a man nearly grown before I knew 
how to count from one to one hundred. I wns 
a man nearly grown before I ever saw a col 
ored school teacher. I never went to school a 
day in my life. To-day I can t write my own 
name, though I can read a little. I was a man 
nearly grown before I ever rode on a railroad 
train, and then I went on an excursion from 
Elberton to Athens. What was true of me 
was true of hundreds of other negroes around 
me way off there in the country, fifteen or 
twenty miles from the nearest town. 


When I reached twenty-one the Captain 
told me I was a free man, but he urged me to 
stay with him. He said he would treat me 
right, and pay me as much as anybody else 
would. The Captain s son and I were about 
the same age, and the Captain said that, as he 
had owned my mother and uncle during slav 
ery, and as his son didn t want me to leave 
them (since I had been with them so long) , he 
wanted me to stay with the old family. And 
I stayed. I signed a contract that is, I made 
my mark for one year. The Captain was to 
give me $3.50 a week, and furnish me a little 
house on the plantation a one-room log cabin 
similar to those used by his other laborers. 

During that year 1 married Mandy. For 
several years Mandy had been the house-ser 
vant for the Captain, his w r ife, his son and his 
three daughters, and they all seemed to think 
a good deal of her. As an evidence of their 
regard they gave us a suit of furniture, which 
cost about $25, and we set up housekeeping in 
one of the Captain s two-room shanties. I 
thought I was the biggest man in Georgia. 
Mandy still kept her place in the Big 
House " after our niarriage. We did so 
well for the first year that I renewed my con 
tract for the second year, and for the third, 
fourth and fifth year I did the same thing. 
Before the end of the fifth year the Captain 
had died, and his son, who had married some 
two or three years before, took charge of the 


plantation. Also, for two or three years, this 
son had been serving at Atlanta in some big 
office to which he had been elected. I think it 
was in the Legislature or something of that 
sort anyhow, all the people called him Sen 
ator. At the end of the fifth year the Senator 
suggested that I sign up a contract for ten 
years; then, he said, we wouldn t have to fix 
up papers every year. I asked my wife about 
it; she consented; and so I made a ten-year 

Not long afterward the Senator had a long, 
low shanty built on his place. A great big 
chimney, with a wide, open fireplace, was built 
at one end of it, and on each side of the house, 
running lengthwise, there was a row of frames 
or stalls just large enough to hold a single 
mattress. The places for these mattresses 
were fixed one above the other; so that there 
was a double row of these stalls or pens on each 
side. They looked for all the world like stalls 
for horses. Since then I have seen cabooses 
similarly arranged as sleeping quarters for 
railroad laborers. Nobody seemed to know 
what the Senator was fixing for. All doubts 
were put aside one bright day in April when 
about forty able-bodied negroes, bound in iron 
chains, and some of them handcuffed, were 
brought out to the Senator s farm in three big 
wagons. They were quartered in the long, 
low shanty, and it was afterward called the 
stockade. This was the beginning of the Sen- 


ator s convict camp. These men were pris 
oners who had been leased by the Senator from 
the State of Georgia at about $200 each per 
year, the State agreeing to pay for guards and 
physicians, for necessary inspection, for in 
quests, all rewards for escaped convicts, the 
cost of litigation and all other incidental camp 
expenses. When I saw these men in shackles, 
and the guards with their guns, I was scared 
nearly to death. I felt like running away, but 
I didn t know where to go. And if there had 
been any place to go to, I would have had to 
leave my wife and child behind. We free 
laborers held a meeting. We all wanted to 
quit. We sent a man to tell the Senator about 
it. Word came back that we were all under 
contract for ten years and that the Senator 
would hold us to the letter of the contract, or 
put us in chains and lock us up the same as 
the other prisoners. It was made plain to us 
by some white people we talked to that in the 
contracts we had signed we had all agreed to 
be locked up in a stockade at night or at any 
other time that our employer saw fit; further, 
we learned that we could not lawfully break 
our contract for any reason and go and hire 
ourselves to somebody else without the con 
sent of our employer; and, more than that, if 
we got mad and ran away, we could be run 
down by bloodhounds, arrested without process 
of law, and be returned to our employer, who, 
according to the contract, might beat us bru- 


tally or administer any other kind of punish 
ment that he thought proper. In other words, 
we had sold ourselves into slavery and what 
could we do about it? The white folks had 
all the courts, all the guns, all the hounds, all 
the railroads, all the telegraph wires, all the 
newspapers, all the money, and nearly all the 
land and we had only our ignorance, our 
poverty and our empty hands. We decided 
that the best thing to do was to shut our 
mouths, say nothing, and go back to work. 
And most of us worked side by side with those 
convicts during the remainder of the ten years. 
But this first batch of convicts was only the 
beginning. Within six months another stock 
ade was built, and twenty or thirty other con 
victs were brought to the plantation, among 
them six or eight women! The Senator had 
bought an additional thousand acres of land, 
and to his already large cotton plantation he 
added two great big saw-mills and went into 
the lumber business. Within two years the 
Senator had in all nearly 200 negroes working 
on his plantation about half of them free 
laborers, so called, and about half of them con 
victs. The only difference between the free 
laborers and the others was that the free la 
borers could come and go as they pleased, at 
night that is, they were not locked up at 
night, and were not, as a general thing, 
whipped for slight offenses. The troubles of 
the free laborers began at the close of the ten- 


year period. To a man, they all wanted to 
quit when the time was up. To a man, they 
all refused to sign new contracts even for 
one year, not to say anything of ten years. 
And just when we thought that our bondage 
was at an end we found that it had really just 
begun. Two or three years before, or about 
a year and a half after the Senator had started 
his camp, he had established a large store, 
which was called the commissary. All of us 
free laborers were compelled to buy our sup 
plies food, clothing, etc. from that store. 
We never used any money in our dealings with 
the commissary, only tickets or orders, and we 
had a general settlement once each year, in 
October. In this store we were charged all 
sorts of high prices for goods, because every 
year we would come out in debt to our em 
ployer. If not that, we seldom had more than 
$5 or $10 coming to us and that for a whole 
year s work. Well, at the close of the tenth 
year, when we kicked and meant to leave the 
Senator, he said to some of us with a smile (and 
I never will forget that smile I can see it 
now) : 

"Boys, I m sorry you re going to leave me. 
I hope you will do well in your new places 
so well that you will be able to pay me the lit 
tle balances which most of you owe me." 

Word was sent out for all of us to meet him 
at the commissary at 2 o clock. There he told 
us that, after we had signed what he called a 


written acknowledgment of our debts, we 
might go and look for new places. The store 
keeper took us one by one and read to us state 
ments of our accounts. According to the books 
there was no man of us who owed the Senator 
less than $100; some of us were put down for 
as much as $200. I owed $165, according to 
the bookkeeper. These debts were not accumu 
lated during one year, but ran back for three 
and four years, so we were told in spite of 
the fact that we understood that we had had a 
full settlement at the end of each year. But 
no one of us would have dared to dispute a 
white man s word oh, no; not in those days. 
Besides, we fellows didn t care anything about 
the amounts we were after getting away; 
and we had been told that we might go, if we 
signed the acknowledgments. We would 
have signed anything, just to get away. So 
we stepped up, we did, and made our marks. 
That same night we were rounde d up by a con 
stable and ten or twelve white men, who aided 
him, and we were locked up, every one of us, 
in one of the Senator s stockades. The next 
morning it was explained to us by the two 
guards appointed to watch us that, in the 
papers, we had signed the day before, we had 
not only made acknowledgment of our indebt 
edness, but that we had also agreed to work for 
the Senator until the debts were paid by hard 
labor. And from that day forward we were 
treated just like convicts. Really we had 


made ourselves lifetime slaves, or peons, as the 
laws called us. But, call it slavery, peonage, 
or what not, the truth is we lived in a hell on 
earth what time we spent in the Senator s peon 
camp. ,| 

I lived in that camp, as a peon, for nearly 
three years. My wife fared better than I did, 
as did the wives of some of the other negroes, 
because the white men about the camp used 
these unfortunate creatures as their mistresses. 
When I was first put in the stockade my wife 
was still kept for a while in the " Big House," 
but my little boy, who was only nine years old, 
was given away to a negro family across the 
river in South Carolina, and I never saw or 
heard of him after that. When I left the 
camp my wife had had two children by some 
one of the white bosses, and she was living in 
fairly good shape in a little house off to herself. 
But the poor negro women who were not in 
the class with my wife fared about as bad as 
the helpless negro men. Most of the time the 
women who were peons or convicts were com 
pelled to wear men s clothes. Sometimes, 
when I have seen them dressed like men, and 
plowing or hoeing or hauling logs or working 
at the blacksmith s trade, just the same as men, 
my heart would bleed and my blood would 
boil, but I was powerless to raise a hand. It 
would have meant death on the spot to have 
said a word. Of the first six women brought 
to the camp, two of them gave birth to children 


after they had been there more than twelve 
months and the babies had white men for 
their fathers! 

The stockades in which we slept were, I 
believe, the filthiest places in the world. They 
were cesspools of nastiness. During the thir 
teen years that I was there I am willing to 
swear that a mattress was never moved after 
it had been brought there, except to turn it over 
once or twice a month. No sheets were used, 
only dark-colored blankets. Most of the men 
slept every night in the clothing that they had 
worked in all day. Some of the worst char 
acters were made to sleep in chains. The doors 
were locked and barred each night, and tallow 
candles were the only lights allowed. Really 
the stockades were but little more than cow 
sheds, horse stables or hog pens. Strange to 
say, not a great number of these people died 
while I was there, though a great many came 
away maimed and bruised and, in some cases, 
disabled for life. As far as I remember only 
about ten died during the last ten years that 
I was there, two of these being killed outright 
by the guards for trivial offenses. 

It was a hard school that peon camp was, 
but I learned more there in a few short months 
by contact with those poor fellows from the 
outside world than ever I had known before. 
Most o"f what I learned was evil, and I now 
know that I should have been better off with 
out the knowledge, but much of what I learned 


was helpful to me. Barring two or three 
severe and brutal whippings which I received, 
I got along very well, all things considered; 
but the system is damnable. A favorite way 
of whipping a man was to strap him down to 
a log, flat on his back, and spank him fifty or 
sixty times on his bare feet with a shingle or a 
huge piece of plank. When the man would 
get up with sore and blistered feet and an ach 
ing body, if he could not then keep up with the 
other men at work he would be strapped to the 
log again, this time face downward, and would 
be lashed with a buggy trace on his bare back. 
When a woman had to be whipped it was usu 
ally done in private, though they would be 
compelled to fall down across a barrel or some 
thing of the kind and receive the licks on their 

The working day on a peon farm begins 
with sunrise and ends when the sun goes down ; 
or, in other words, the average peon works 
from ten to twelve hours each day, with one 
hour (from 12 o clock to 1 o clock) for dinner. 
Hot or cold, sun or rain, this is the rule. As 
to their meals, the laborers are divided up into 
squads or companies, just the same as soldiers 
in a great military camp would be. Two or 
three men in each stockade are appointed as 
cooks. From thirty to forty men report to 
each cook. In the warm months (or eight or 
nine months out of the year) the cooking is 
done on the outside, }ust behind the stock- 


ades; in the cold months the cooking is done 
inside the stockades. Each peon is pro 
vided with a great big tin cup, a flat tin pan and 
two big tin spoons. No knives or forks are 
ever seen, except those used by the cooks. At 
meal time the peons pass in single file before 
the cooks, and hold out their pans and cups 
to receive their allowances. Cow peas (red or 
white, which when boiled turn black), fat 
bacon and old-fashioned Georgia corn bread, 
baked in pones from one to two and three 
inches thick, make up the chief articles of food. 
Black coffee, black molasses and brown sugar 
are also used abundantly. Once in a great 
while, on Sundays, biscuits would be made, but 
they would always be made from tjie kind of 
flour called " shorts." As a rule, breakfast 
consisted of coffee, fried bacon, corn bread, 
and sometimes molasses and one " helping " 
of each was all that was allowed. Peas, boiled 
with huge hunks of fat bacon, and a hoe-cake, 
as big as a man s hand, usually answered for 
dinner. Soinetimes this dinner bill of fare 
gave place to bacon and greens (collard or tur 
nip) and pot liquor. Though we raised corn, 
potatoes and other vegetables, we never got 
a chance at such things unless we could steal 
them and cook them secretly. Supper con 
sisted of coffee, fried bacon .and molasses. 
But, although the food was limited to certain 
things, I am sure we all got a plenty of the 
things allowed. As coarse as these things 


were, we kept, as a rule, fat and sleek and as 
strong as mules. And that, too, in spite of 
the fact that we had no special arrangements 
for taking regular baths, and no very great 
effort was made to keep us regularly in clean 
clothes. No tables were used or allowed. In 
summer we would sit down on the ground and 
eat our meals, and in winter we would sit 
around inside the filthy stockades. Each man 
was his own dish washer that is to say, each 
man was responsible for the care of his pan 
and cup and spoons. My dishes got washed 
about once a week ! 

To-day, I am told, there are six or seven 
of these private camps in Georgia that is to 
say, camps where most of the convicts are 
leased from the State of Georgia. But there 
are hundreds and hundreds of farms all over 
the State w r here negroes, and in some cases 
poor white folks, are held in bondage on the 
ground that they are working out debts, or 
where the contracts which they have made hold 
them in a kind of perpetual bondage, because, 
under those contracts, they may not quit one 
employer and hire out to another except by and 
with the knowledge and consent of the former 
employer. One of the usual ways to secure 
laborers for a large peonage camp is for the 
proprietor to send out an agent to the little 
courts in the towns and villages, and where a 
man charged with some petty offense has no 
friends or money the agent will urge him to 


plead guilty, with the understanding that the 
agent will pay his fine, and in that way save 
him from the disgrace of being sent to jail or 
the chain-gang! For this high favor the man 
must sign beforehand a paper signifying his 
willingness to go to the farm and work out the 
amount of the fine imposed. When he reaches 
the farm he has to be fed and clothed, to be 
sure, and these things are charged up to his 
account. By the time he has worked out his 
first debt another is hanging over his head, and 
so on and so on, by a sort of endless chain, for 
an indefinite period, as in every case the in 
debtedness is arbitrarily arranged by the em 
ployer. In many cases it is very evident that 
the court officials are in collusion with the pro 
prietors or agents, and that they divide the 
" graft " among themselves. As an example 
of this dickering among the whites, every year 
many convicts were brought to the Senator s 
camp from a certain county in South Georgia, 
way down in the turpentine district. The 
majority of these men were charged with 
adultery, which is an offense against the laws 
of the great and sovereign State of Georgia! 
Upon inquiry I learned that down in that 
county a number of negro lewd women were 
employed by certain white men to entice negro 
men into their houses; and then, on a certain 
night, at a given signal, when all was in readi 
ness, raids would be made by the officers upon 
these houses, and the men would be arrested 


and charged with living in adultery. Nine 
out of ten of these men, so arrested and so 
charged, would find their way ultimately to 
some convict camp, and, as I said, many of 
them found their way every year to the Sen 
ator s camp while I was there. The low-down 
women were never punished in any way. On 
the contrary, I was told that they always 
seemed to stand in high favor with the sheriffs, 
constables and other officers. There can be no 
room to doubt that they assisted very materi 
ally in furnishing laborers for the prison pens 
of Georgia, and the belief was general among 
the men that they were regularly paid for their 
work. I could tell more, but I ve said 
enough to make anybody s heart sick. This 
great and terrible iniquity is, I know, wide 
spread throughout Georgia and many other 
Southern States. 

But I didn t tell you how I got out. I 
didn t get out they put me out. When I 
had served as a peon for nearly three years 
and you remember that they claimed that I 
owed them only $165 when I had served for 
nearly three years, one of the bosses came to 
me and said that my time was up. He hap 
pened to be the one who was said to be living 
with my wife. He gave me a new suit of 
overalls, which cost about seventy-five cents, 
took me in a buggy and carried me across the 
Broad River into South Carolina, set me down 
and told me to " git." I didn t have a cent 


of money, and I wasn t feeling well, but some 
how I managed to get a move on me. I 
begged my way to Columbia. In two or three 
days I ran across a man looking for laborers to 
carry to Birmingham, and I joined his gang. 
I have been here in the Birmingham district 
since they released me, and I reckon I ll die 
either in a coal mine or an iron furnace. It 
don t make much difference which. Either is 
better than a Georgia peon camp. And a 
Georgia peon camp is hell itself ! 




Ah-nen-la-de-ni, whose American name is Daniel La France 
told his own story in neat typewritten form, and has been aided 
only to the extent of some very slight rewriting and rearrange 

I WAS born in Gouverneur Village, N. Y., 
in April, 1879, during one of the periodi 
cal wanderings of my family, and my first 
recollection is concerning a house in Toronto, 
Canada, in which I was living with my father 
and mother, brother and grandmother. I 
could not have been much more than three 
years old at the time. 

My father was a pure-blooded Indian of 
the Mohawk tribe of the Six Nations, and our 
home was in the St. Regis reservation in 
Franklin County, N. Y., but we were fre 
quently away from that place because my 
father was an Indian medicine man, who made 
frequent journeys, taking his family with him 
and selling his pills and physics in various 
towns along the border line between Canada 
and the United States. 

This house in Toronto was winter quarters 
for us. In the summer time we lived in a tent. 


We had the upper part of the house, while 
some gypsies lived in the lower part. 

All sorts of people came to consult the 
" Indian doctor," and the gypsies sent them 
upstairs to us, and mother received them, and 
then retired into another room with my brother 
and myself. She did not know anything about 
my father s medicines, and seemed to hate to 
touch them. When my father was out mother 
was frequently asked to sell the medicines, but 
she would not, telling the patients that they 
must wait until the doctor came home. She 
was not pure-blooded Indian, her father being 
a French Canadian, while her mother, my 
grandmother, was a pure-blooded Indian, who 
lived with us. 

What made it all the more strange that 
mother would have nothing to do with the 
medicines was the fact that grandmother was, 
herself, a doctor of a different sort than my 
father. Her remedies were probably the 
same but in cruder form. I could have 
learned much if I had paid attention to her, 
because as I grew older she took me about in 
the woods when she went there to gather herbs, 
and she told me what roots and leaves to col 
lect, and how to dry and prepare them and how 
to make the extracts and what sicknesses they 
were good for. But I was soon tired of such 
matters, and would stray off by myself pick 
ing the berries raspberry and blackberry, 
strawberry and blueberry in their seasons, 
[201 ] 


and hunting the birds and little animals with 
my bow and arrows. So I learned very little 
from all this lore. 

My father was rather a striking figure. His 
hair was long and black, and he wore a long 
Prince Albert coat while in the winter quar 
ters, and Indian costume, fringed and beaded, 
while in the tent. His medicines were put up 
in pill boxes and labeled bottles, and were the 
results of knowledge that had been handed 
down through many generations in our tribe. 

My brother and I also wore long hair, and 
were strange enough in appearance to attract 
attention from the white people about us, but 
mother kept us away from them as much as 

My father was not only a doctor, but 
also a trapper, fisherman, farmer and basket 

The reservation in Franklin County is a 
very beautiful place, fronting on the main St. 
Lawrence River. Tributaries of the St. Law 
rence wander through it, and its woods still 
preserve their wild beauty. On this reserva 
tion we had our permanent home in a log house 
surrounded by land, on which we planted corn, 
potatoes and such other vegetables as suited 
our fancies. The house was more than fifty 
years old. 

The woods provided my father and grand 
mother with their herbs and roots, and they 


gathered there the materials for basket mak 
ing. There were also as late as 1880 some 
beavers, muskrats and minks to be trapped 
and pickerel, salmon and white perch to be 
caught in the streams. These last sources of 
revenue for the Indians no longer exist; the 
beavers, minks and muskrats are extinct, while 
the mills of the ever encroaching white man 
have filled the streams with sawdust and ban 
ished the fish. 

We were generally on the reservation in 
early spring, planting, fishing, basket making, 
gathering herbs and making medicine, and 
then in the fall, when our little crop was 
brought in, we would depart on our tour of the 
white man s towns and cities, camping in a 
tent on the outskirts of some place, selling our 
wares, which included bead work that mother 
and grandmother were clever at making, and 
moving on as the fancy took us until cold 
weather came, when my father would gener 
ally build a little log house in some wood, plas 
tering the chinks with moss and clay, and there 
we would abide, warm amid ice and snow, till 
it was time to go to the reservation again. 

One might imagine that with such a great 
variety of occupations we would soon become 
rich especially as we raised much of our own 
food and seldom had any rent to pay but this 
was not the case. I do not know how much 
my father charged for his treatment of sick 


people, but his prices were probably moderate, 
and as to our trade in baskets, furs and bead 
work, we were not any better business people 
than Indians generally. 

Nevertheless, it was a happy life that we 
led, and lack of money troubled us little. We 
were healthy and our wants were f ew r . 

Father did not always take his family with 
him on his expeditions, and as I grew older I 
passed a good deal of time on the reservation. 
Here, though the people farmed and dressed 
somewhat after the fashion of the white man, 
they still kept up their ancient tribal cere 
monies, laws and customs, and preserved their 
language. The general government was in 
the hands of twelve chiefs, elected for life on 
account of supposed merit and ability. 

There were four Indian day schools on the 
reservation, all taught by young white women. 
I sometimes went to one of these, but learned 
practically nothing. The teachers did not un 
derstand our language, and we knew nothing 
of theirs, so much progress was not possible. 

Our lessons consisted of learning to repeat 
all the English words in the books that were 
given us. Thus, after a time, some of us, my 
self included, became able to pronounce all 
the words in the Fifth and Sixth readers, and 
took great pride in the exercise. But we did 
not know what any of the words meant. 

Our arithmetic stopped at simple numera 
tion, and the only other exercise we had was 


in writing, which, with us, resolved itself into 
a contest of speed without regard to the form 
of letters. 

The Indian parents were disgusted with the 
schools, and did not urge their children to at 
tend, and when the boys and girls did go of 
their own free will it was more for sociability 
and curiosity than from a desire to learn. 
Many of the boys and girls were so large that 
the teachers could not preserve discipline, and 
we spent much of our time in the school in 
drawing pictures of each other and the teacher, 
and in exchanging in our own language such 
remarks as led to a great deal of fighting when 
we regained the open air. Often boys went 
home with their clothing torn off them in 
these fights. 

Under the circumstances, it is not strange 
that the attendance at these schools was poor 
and irregular, and that on many days the 
teachers sat alone in the schoolhouses because 
there were no scholars. Since that time a 
great change has taken place, and there are 
now good schools on the reservation. 

I was an official of one of the schools, to the 
extent that I chopped wood for it, but I did 
not often attend its sessions, and when I was 
thirteen years of age, and had been nominally 
a pupil of the school for six years, I was still 
so ignorant of English that I only knew one 
sentence, which was common property among 
us alleged pupils: 



" Please, ma am, can I go out? " pro 
nounced: " Peezumgannigowout I " 

When I was thirteen a great change oc 
curred, for the honey-tongued agent of a new 
Government contract Indian school appeared 
on the reservation, drumming up boys and 
girls for his institution. He made a great im 
pression by going from house to house and 
describing, through an interpreter, all the 
glories and luxuries of the new place, the good 
food and teaching, the fine uniforms, the 
playground and its sports and toys. 

All that a wild Indian boy had to do, ac 
cording to the agent, was to attend this school 
for a year or two, and he was sure to emerge 
therefrom with all the knowledge and skill of 
the white man. 

My father was away from the reservation at 
the time of the agent s arrival, but mother and 
grandmother heard him with growing wonder 
and interest, as I did myself, and we all finally 
decided that I ought to go to this wonderful 
school and become a great man perhaps at 
last a chief of our tribe. Mother said that it 
was good for Indians to be educated, as white 
men were " so tricky with papers." 

I had, up to this time, been leading a very 
happy life, helping with the planting, trap 
ping, fishing, basket making and playing all 
the games of my tribe which is famous at 
lacrosse but the desire to travel and see new 
things and the hope of finding an easy way to 


much knowledge in the wonderful school out 
weighed my regard for my home and its joys, 
and so I was one of the twelve boys who in 
1892 left our reservation to go to the Govern 
ment contract school for Indians, situated in a 
large Pennsylvania city and known as the 
- Institute. 

Till I arrived at the school I had never 
heard that there were any other Indians in the 
country other than those of our reservation, 
and I did not know that our tribe was called 
Mohawk. My people called themselves " Ga- 
nien-ge-ha-ga," meaning " People of the 
Beacon Stone," and Indians generally they 
termed " On-give-hon-we," meaning " Real- 
men " or " Primitive People." 

My surprise, therefore, was great when I 
found myself surrounded in the school yard 
by strange Indian boys belonging to tribes of 
which I had never heard, and when it was said 
that my people were only the " civilized Mo 
hawks," I at first thought that " Mohawk " 
was a nickname and fought any boy who called 
me by it. 

I had left home for the school with a great 
deal of hope, having said to my mother: " Do 
not worry. I shall soon return to you a bet 
ter boy and with a good education! " Little 
did I dre am that that was the last time I would 
ever see her kind face. She died two years 
later, and I was not allowed to go to her 



The journey to Philadelphia had been very 
enjoyable and interesting. It was my first 
ride on the " great steel horse," as the Indians 
called the railway train, but my frame of mind 
changed as soon as my new home was reached. 

The first thing that happened to me and to 
all other freshly caught young redskins when 
we arrived at the institution was a bath of a 
particularly disconcerting sort. We were 
used to baths of the swimming variety, for on 
the reservation we boys spent a good deal of 
our time in the water, but this first bath at the 
institution was different. For one thing, it 
was accompanied by plenty of soap, and for 
another thing, it was preceded by a haircut 
that is better described as a crop. 

The little newcomer, thus cropped and de 
livered over to the untender mercies of larger 
Indian boys of tribes different from his own, 
who laughingly attacked his bare skin with 
very hot water and very hard scrubbing 
brushes, was likely to emerge from the en 
counter with a clean skin but perturbed mind. 
When, in addition, he was prevented from 
expressing his feelings in the only language he 
knew, what wonder if some rules of the school 
were broken. 

After the astonishing bath the newcomer 
was freshly clothed from head to foot, while 
the raiment in which he came from the reser 
vation was burned or buried. Thereafter he 
was released by the torturers, and could be 


seen sidling about the corridors like a lonely 
crab, silent, sulky, immaculately clean and 
most disconsolate. 

After my bath and reclothing and after hav 
ing had my name taken down in the records I 
was assigned to a dormitory, and began my 
regular school life, much to my dissatisfaction. 
The recording of my name was accompanied 
by a change which, though it might seem 
trifling to the teachers, was very important to 
me. My name among my own people was 
" Ah-nen-la-de-ni," which in English means 
" Turning crowd " or " Turns the crowd," but 
my family had had the name " La France " 
bestowed on them by the French some genera 
tions before my birth, and at the institution 
my Indian name was discarded, and I was 
informed that I was henceforth to be know 
as Daniel La France. 

It made me feel as if I had lost myself. I 
had been proud of myself and my possibilities 
as " Turns the crowd," for in spite of their civ 
ilized surroundings the Indians of our reser 
vation in my time still looked back to the old 
warlike days when the Mohawks were great 
people, but Daniel La France was to me a 
stranger and a nobody with no possibilities. 
It seemed as if my prospect of a chief ship had 
vanished. I was very homesick for a long 

The dormitory to which I was assigned had 
twenty beds in it, and was under a captain, 


who was one of the advanced scholars. It 
was his duty to teach and enforce the rules of 
the place in this room, and to report to the 
white authorities all breaches of discipline. 

Out in the school yard there was the same 
sort of supervision. Whether at work or play, 
we were constantly watched, and there were 
those in authority over us. This displeased us 
Mohawks, who were warriors at fourteen years 
of age. 

After the almost complete freedom of res 
ervation life the cramped quarters and the dull 
routine of the school were maddening to all us 
strangers. There were endless rules for us to 
study and abide by, and hardest of all was the 
rule against speaking to each other in our own 
language. We must speak English or re 
main silent, and those who knew no English 
were forced to be dumb or else break the rules 
in secret. This last we did quite frequently, 
and were punished, when detected, by being 
made to stand in the " public hall " for a long 
time or to march about the yard while the 
other boys were at play. 

There were about 115 boys at this school, and 
three miles from us was a similar Government 
school for Indian girls, which had nearly as 
many inmates. 

The system when I first went to this school 
contemplated every Indian boy learning a 
trade as well as getting a grammar school edu 
cation. Accordingly we went to school in the 


morning and to work in the afternoon, or the 
other way about. 

There were shoemakers, blacksmiths, tin 
smiths, farmers, printers, all sorts of mechan 
ics among us. I was set to learn the tailoring 
trade, and stuck at it for two and a half years, 
making such progress that I was about to be 
taught cutting when I began to cough, and it 
was said that outdoor work would be better for 
me. Accordingly I went, during the vacation 
of 1895, up into Bucks County, Pa., and 
worked on a farm with benefit to my health, 
though I was not a very successful farmer 
the methods of the people who employed me 
were quite different from those of our reser 

Though I was homesick soon after coming 
to the Institute I afterward recovered so com 
pletely that I did not care to go back to the 
reservation at vacation time, though at first 
I was offered the opportunity. I spent my 
vacations working for Quaker farmers. All 
the money I earned at this and other occupa 
tions was turned into the Institute bank cred 
ited to my account, and I drew from thence 
money for my expenses and for special oc 
casions like Christmas and the Fourth of 

When I returned from Bucks County in 
1895 I found that some of the boys of my 
class were attending the public school outside 
the institution, and on application I was al- 


lowed to join them, and finally graduated there 
from the grammar department, though held 
back by the fact that I was spending half my 
.time in some workshop. I never went back to 
tailoring, except to finish a few suits that 
were left when the Institute shop closed, but I 
worked for a time at printing and afterward 
at making cooking apparatuses. 

After I had finished with the grammar 
school I got a situation in the office of a lawyer 
while still residing in the institution. I also 
took a course of stenography and typewriting 
at the Philadelphia Young Men s Christian 
Association. So practically I was only a 
boarder at the Institute during the latter part 
of my eight years stay there. 

Nevertheless, I was valuable to the authori 
ties there for certain purposes, and when I 
wanted to leave and go to Carlisle school, 
which I had heard was very good, I could not 
obtain permission. 

This Institute, as I have said, was a con 
tract Government school for teaching Indians. 
The great exertions made by the agent, who 
visited our reservation in the first place, were 
caused by the fact that a certain number of 
Indian children had to be obtained before the 
school could be opened. I do not think that 
the Indian parents signed any papers, but we 
boys and girls were supposed to remain at 
the school for five years. After that, as I 


understand it, we were free from any obli 

The reason why I and others like me were 
kept at the school was that we served as show 
scholars as results of the system and evi 
dences of the good work the Institute was 

When I first went to the school the superin 
tendent was a clergyman, honest and well 
meaning, and during the first five years there 
after while he remained in charge the general 
administration was honest, but when he went 
away the school entered upon a period of 
changing administrations and general demor 
alization. New superintendents succeeded 
each other at short intervals, and some of them 
were violent and cruel, while all seemed to us 
boys more or less dishonest. Boys who had 
been inmates of the school for eight years were 
shown to visitors as results of two years tui 
tion, and shoes and other articles bought in 
Philadelphia stores were hung up on the walls 
at public exhibition or concert and exhibited 
as the work of us boys. I was good for var 
ious show purposes. I could sing and play 
a musical instrument, and I wrote essays which 
were thought to be very good. The authori 
ties also were fond of displaying me as one 
who had come to the school a few years before 
unable to speak a word of English. 

Some of my verses that visitors admired 
were as follows : 



When first the white man s ship appeared 

To Redmen of this wooded strand, 
The Redmen gazed, and vastly feared, 

That they could not those "birds" withstand: 
As they mistook the ships for birds. 

And this ill omen came quite true 
For later came more ; hungrier birds. 


Look, little papoose, your cradle s unbound, 
Its strappings let loose for you to be bound. 

Refrain : Oh little papoose ! 

On cradle-board bound ; 
My swinging papoose, 
Your slumber be sound. 

Tawn little papoose, your mother is in : 

She s roasting the goose on the sharp wooden pin. 


Bound little papoose, your father is out ; 
He s hunting the moose that makes you grow stout. 


Brawn little papoose, great hunter shall be ; 
And trap the great moose behind the pine tree. 


My little papoose, swing, swing from the bough. 
Grow; then you ll get loose put plumes on your 
brow ! Ref. 

So little papoose, dream, dream as you sleep ; 
While friendly old spruce shall watch o er you keep. 


Now, little papoose, swing on to your rest. 
My red browed papoose, swing east and swing west. 



Over the superintendent of the Institute 
there was a Board of Lady Managers with a 
Lady Directress, and these visited us occa 
sionally, but there was no use laying any com 
plaint before them. They were arbitrary 
and almost unapproachable. Matters went 
from bad to worse, and when the Spanish- 
American War broke out, and my employer, 
the lawyer, resolved to go to it in the Red 
Cross service, and offered to take me with him 
I greatly desired to go, but was not allowed. 
I suppose that the lawyer could easily have 
obtained my liberty, but did not wish to antag 
onize the Lady Managers, who considered any 
criticism of the institution as an attack on 
their own infallibility. 

While waiting for a new situation after the 
young lawyer had gone away, I heard of the 
opportunities there were, for young men who 
could become good nurses, and of the place 
where such training could be secured. I de 
sired to go there, and presented this ambition 
to the superintendent, who at first encouraged 
me to the extent of giving a fair recommenda 
tion. But when the matter was laid before 
the Head Directress in the shape of an appli 
cation for admission ready to be sent by me to 
the authorities of the Nurses Training School, 
she flatly refused it consideration without giv 
ing any good reason for so doing. 

She, however, made the mistake of return 
ing the application to me, and it was amended 


later and sent to the Training School in Man 
hattan. It went out through a secret channel, 
as all the regular mail of the institution s in 
mates, whether outgoing or incoming, was 
opened and examined in the office of the su 

A few days before the 4th of July, 1899, 
the answer to my application arrived in the 
form of notice to report at the school for the 
entrance examination. This communication 
found me in the school jail, where I had been 
placed for the first time in all my life at the 

I had been charged with throwing a night 
gown out of the dormitory window, and truly 
it was my nightgown that was found in the 
school yard, for it had my number upon it. 
But I never threw it out of the window. I 
believe that one of the official underlings did 
that in order to found upon it a charge against 
me, for the school authorities had discovered 
that I and other boys of the institution had 
gone to members of the Indian Rights Asso 
ciation and had made complaint of conditions 
in the school, and that an investigation was 
coming. They, therefore, desired to disgrace 
and punish me as one of the leaders of those 
who were exposing them. 

I heard about the letter from the Training 

School, and was very anxious to get away, but 

my liberation in time to attend that entrance 

examination seemed impossible. The days 



passed, and when the 4th of July arrived I was 
still in the school jail, which was the rear part 
of a stable. 

At one o clock my meal of bread and water 
was brought to me by the guard detailed to 
look after my safe keeping. After he had 
delivered this to me he went outside, leaving 
the door open, but standing there. The only 
window of that stable was very small, very 
high on the wall and was protected by iron 
bars but here w r as the door left open. 

I fled, and singularly enough the guard had 
his back turned and was contemplating nature 
with great assiduity. As soon as I got out of 
the inclosure I dashed after and caught a 
trolley car, and a few hours later I was in New 

That was the last I saw of the Institute and 
it soon afterward went out of existence, but I 
heard that as a result of the demand for an 
investigation the Superintendent of Indian 
Schools had descended on it upon a given day 
and found everything beautiful for her visit 
had been announced. But she returned again 
the next day, when it was supposed that she 
had left the city, and then things were not 
beautiful at all, and much that we had told 
about was proven. 

I had $15 in the Lincoln Institute bank when 
I ran away, but I knew that was past crying 
for and I depended on $3 that I had in my 


pocket and with which I got a railroad ticket 
to New York. 

I was assisted in my escape and afterward 
by a steadfast friend and had comparatively 
plain sailing, as I passed the entrance exam 
ination easily and was admitted to the Train 
ing School on probation. 

The Institute people wrote and wrote after 
me, but could not get me back or cause the 
Training School to turn me out, and they soon 
had their own troubles to attend to. The 
school was closed in 1900 as the Government 
cut off all appropriations. 

When I first entered the Training School on 
probation I was assigned to the general surgi 
cal ward and there took my first lessons in the 
duties of a nurse, being taught how to receive 
a patient whether walking or carried how to 
undress him and put him in bed, to make a 
list of his property, to make a neat bundle of 
his clothes, to enter his name and particulars 
about him in the records, and how properly to 
discharge patients, returning their property 
and clothes, and all about bed making, straight 
ening out the ward, making bandages and 
scores of other details. I studied all books on 
nursing and attended all the lectures. Bed 
making, as I soon found, was an art in itself 
and a most important art, and so in re 
gard to other details, all of which may look 
trivial to an outsider, but which count in san 



This new life was very much to my liking. 
I was free, for one thing, and was working 
for myself with good hope of accomplishing 

Our evenings were our own after our work 
was done, and though we had to return to the 
nurses quarters at 10.30 o clock at the latest, 
that was not a hardship and we could enjoy 
some of the pleasures of the city. While in 
the Training School I received my board and 
$10 a month pay, a very decided gain over the 
Institute. Besides, the food and quarters 
were far better. 

After I had been for twelve months in the 
Training School I was allowed to go to our 
reservation for a ten days vacation. It was 
the first time in nine years that I had seen my 
old home and I found things much changed. 
My mother and grandmother were dead, and 
there had died also a little sister whom I had 
never seen. My father was alive and still 
wandering as of old. Many of my playmates 
had scattered and I felt like a stranger. But 
it was very pleasant to renew acquaintance 
with the places and objects that had been 
familiar in my childhood the woods, the 
streams, the bridge that used to look so big 
and was now so small to me the swimming 
hole, and with the friends who remained. 

I found that our people had progressed. 
The past and its traditions were losing their 



hold on them and white man s ways were 

During the visit I lived at the house of my 
brother, who is ten years older than I and is 
a farmer and manufacturer of snow shoes and 
lacrosse sticks. The ten days passed all too 

Since that time I have paid one other and 
much longer visit to the reservation and have 
quite renewed touch with my own people, who 
are always glad to see me and who express 
much astonishment at the proficiency I show in 
my native tongue. Most of the boys who are 
away from the reservation for three or four 
years forget our language, but, as I have said, 
there were some of us at the Institute who 
practiced in secret. 

What I saw in the reservation convinced me 
that our people are not yet ready for citizen 
ship and that they desire and should be allowed 
to retain their reservation. They are greatly 
obliged to those who have aided them in defeat 
ing the Vreeland bill. The whole community 
is changing and when the change advances a 
little further it will be time to open the reser 
vation gates and let in all the world. 

Of course, so far as the old Indians are con 
cerned, they will not and cannot change. They 
have given up the idea that the Mohawks will 
ever again be a great people, but they can 
not alter their habits and it only remains for 


them to pass away. They want to end their 
days in comfort and peace, like the cat by the 
fireside that is all. 

To the white man these old people may not 
seem important, but to us young Indians they 
are very important. The family tie is strong 
among Indians. White people are aggra 
vated because so many young Indians, after 
their schooling, go back to their reservations 
and are soon seen dressed and living just like 
the others. But they must do that if they 
desire to keep in touch with the others. 

Supposing the young Indian who has been 
to school did not return to his father s house, 
but stayed out among the white men. The 
old folks would say "He won t look at us now. 
He thinks himself above us." And all par 
ents who observed this would add: "We 
won t send our children to school. They 
would never come back to us." 

The young Indians are right to go back to 
the reservation and right to dress and act like 
the others, to cherish the old folks and make 
their way easy, and not to forget their tribe. 
It is a mistake to think that they soon lose all 
that they have learned in the school. Com 
pare the school Indians with those who have 
not been at school and a very marked differ 
ence is found. You find on their farms im 
proved methods and in their houses pianos, 
which their wives, who have also been at school, 
can play. All these boys and girls who have 



been to school are as missionaries to the res 

The schools are doing a great deal of good 
to the Indians and are changing them fast, 
and there is another force at work occupied 
with another change. On all the reservations 
the pure blooded Indians are becoming rarer 
and rarer, and the half and quarter breeds 
more and more common technically they are 
Indians. Thus though the tribe is increasing, 
the real Indians are decreasing. They arp 
becoming more and more white. On our 
reserve now you can see boys and girls with 
light hair and blue eyes, children of white 
fathers and Indian mothers. They have the 
rosy cheeks of English children, but they can 
not speak a word of English. 

After returning to the Training School I 
completed the two years course and after 
ward took a special course in massage treat 
ment for paralysis. 

I have since been employed principally in 
private practice. I like the work and the 
pay, though the former is very exacting. 
The nurse must be very clean and very regular 
in his habits; he must be firm and yet good- 
tempered able to command the patient when 
necessary. He must maintain a cheerful atti 
tude of mind and demeanor toward a patient, 
who is often most abusive and ill-tempered. 
He must please the doctor, the patient s 
family, and to as great an extent as pos- 


sible the patient himself. He must be watch 
ful without appearing to watch. He must 
be strong and healthy. Nursing is tiresome 
and confining. Nevertheless I console myself 
with the remunerations financial and educa 
tional, and with the thought that my present 
occupation, assisting in saving lives, is an 
advance beyond that of my scalp-taking an 

I have been asked as to prejudice against 
Indians among white people. There is some, 
but I don t think it amounts to much. Per 
haps there were some in my Training School 
class who objected to being associated with an 
Indian. I never perceived it, and I don t 
think I have suffered anywhere from preju 

I have suffered many times from being 
mistaken for a Japanese. 

Some people when they find I am an Indian 
seek me out and have much to say to me, but 
it is generally merely for curiosity and I do 
not encourage them. On the other hand I 
have good, steadfast, old-time friends among 
white people. 

When I first began to learn I thought that 
when I knew English and could read and write 
it would be enough. But the further I have 
climbed the higher the hills in front of me have 
grown. A few years ago the point I have 
reached would have seemed very high. Now 
it seems low, and I am studying much in my 


spare time. I don t know what the result 
will be. 

Some ask me whether or not I will ever 
return to my tribe. How can I tell? The 
call from the woods and fields is very clear and 
moving, especially in the pleasant summer 



The genial exponent of the simple life who furnished the 
following article by talking through an interpreter, was a large, 
plump Filipino, whose age was probably forty-eight. He was 
clad in two necklaces, two bracelets, some tattoo marks and a 
loin cloth. He speaks no English and therefore only his ideas 
and statements of fact are given. In regard to figures he is 
quite impressionistic, "a thousand" representing any very- 
large number. He was the leader of the band of Igorrotes at 
Coney Island when he told this story of his life. 

I AM Chief Fomoaley, of the Bontoc Igor- 
rotes, and I have come to the United 
States with my people in order to show 
the white people our civilization. The white 
man that lives in our town asked me to come, 
and said that Americans were anxious to see 
us. Since we have been here great crowds of 
white people have come and watched us, and 
they seemed pleased. 

We are the oldest people in the world. All 
others come from us. The first man and 
woman there were two women lived on our 
mountains and their children lived there after 
them, till they grew bad and God sent a great 
flood that drowned them, all except seven, who 
escaped in a canoe and landed, after the flood 
went down, on a high mountain. 


Three times a year our old men call the 
people together and tell them the old stories 
of how God made the world and then the 
animals, and lastly men. These stories have 
been handed down in that way from the very 
beginning, so that we know they are true. 
The white men have some stories, too, like 
that. Perhaps they may have heard them 
from one of us. At any rate, they are wrong 
about some things. There was a white man 
who told us that the place where the canoe 
landed after the flood was a high mountain on 
the other side of the world, but we know bet 
ter, because we can see the mountain from our 
town. It is close by us and always has been 
there, and our old men point it out when they 
tell the story. 

I was born in a hut in that town. I don t 
remember my father. He was killed in bat 
tle when I was very small. I had four broth 
ers and three sisters. We did no work except 
a little in the fields, where the rice and sweet 
potatoes grow, or getting fruit in the woods. 
I swam and ran and played with the other 
boys. We had small hatchets and spears ancf 
bolos made of wood, and we hunted animals 
and birds and fought each _ other. 

When I grew up to be a man I went out 
and took a head, and then I got married. 

Among our people a young man must have 
taken a head before he is made a warrior. Our 
young women will not marry a man unless he 


has taken a head. We take the heads of our 
enemies. Sometimes these are the people of 
some other Igorrote town, sometimes they are 
the little black people who shoot with poisoned 
arrows, sometimes it may be some family that 
lives close by and has taken a head from our 
family. We used to get heads from the 
Spaniards when they were in our island, but 
now they have gone away. The Americans 
don t like us to take heads, but what can we 
do? Other people take heads from us. We 
have always done it. The women won t marry 
our men if they do not take heads. 

I got my head among the black people by 
waiting near a spring until a man came to 
drink. I shouted, and he shot at me with 
arrows, but I caught them on my shield. 
Then I speared him and cut off his head with 
rny bolo. 

When I returned to my town I went straight 
to the house where the girl lived, but she would 
not look at me till I showed her my head. 
That pleased her very much, because it showed 
that I was a warrior and could kill enemies. 
So we were married. 

Soon after this there came a white man to 
Bontoc, who said that we must go and work 
for his people and give them things our buf 
faloes, our rice and sugar cane and sweet pota 
toes. They were not going to do anything 
for us. 

This white man was a Spaniard. Our 


chiefs laughed at him and said that they owed 
us things instead of us owing them. We were 
there for a thousand lives before the Span 
iards came, and they were in our island yet. 
We never tried to make them pay. 

The Spaniards went away angry, but came 
back soon with a thousand others to fight. 
And all the men of Bontoc went out to meet 

Our town is far up in the mountains and 
there are no roads, only paths through the 
woods, and the Spaniards could only come a 
few at a time. We waited for them in the 
narrow places and rolled stones down on them 
and killed plenty. Some others we killed with 
spears and some with bolos. They burned 
some of our houses and spoiled some of our 
fields, but they had to go away and we paid 
them nothing. We got nearly a hundred 

The Spaniards came again and burned more 
houses and spoiled more fields, but we killed 
more of them and they stopped coming. 

We did not owe them anything ; why should 
we pay what they call taxes? We were the 
owners of the island. We let the Spaniards 
come because there is plenty of room for 

They caught a few Igorrotes and were very 
bad to them, whipping them to make them 
work. Some they whipped to death because 
our people will not work. They do not like 


it. God never meant us to work. That is 
why he makes our food and clothing grow all 
about us on the trees and bushes. 

Our God is the great God who lives in the 
sky and shines through the sun. He makes 
our rice and sugar cane grow and looks out 
for us he gives us the heads of our enemies. 
We have heard of the white man s God, but 
ours is better. 

A long time ago, a white man all dressed in 
black came to our town and told us about the 
white man s God. He was small and fat. He 
could not run or jump, he could hardly walk 
and there was no hair on the top of his head. 
He had a book with him and he told us many 
things that were in that book. 

Our Chief asked if his God looked like him. 
He said "yes "; we did not think he could be 
a good looking God. We never saw our God, 
but he must be much better looking than that 
man was. 

That man told us that God had a son who 

died for us, and that we ought to leave our 

God and go to him. But our Chief said: 

We did not want him to die for us. We 

can die for ourselves." 

No, we will be true to our own God, who 
has always been good to us. We never give 
him anything. How could a man give any 
thing to God? 

The fat white man told us that if we were 
very good and did what he said, we would go 


to the white man s heaven, up in the sky. He 
said that people there could fly like birds, and 
that they spent all their time singing praises 
of the white man s God. 

We did not think we should care to go there. 
Our own heaven, where the fruit is always 
ripe arid the game is plenty, suits us far better. 

The fat white man who told us about God 
and heaven was a Spaniard. He said that 
God had sent him to us but we didn t believe 
it. A man from our town had been among 
the Spaniards and he said that they told 

If the Spaniard s God is good, why did he 
not keep them out of our country. They can 
not be good men or else they would not want 
to make us work for them and they would not 
try to kill us. When the Spaniards came to 
fight us they had guns that only went off in 
long times. They had to put something in 
at the top of the gun and poke it down with 
a stick before they could shoot. 

We laughed at them; our spears were so 
much quicker. 

The Americans came and drove the Span 
iards away. They have guns that go bang- 
bang-bang-bang, as fast as a man can talk. 
They are our friends, for they do not burn our 
houses or kill our people or whip them to make 
them work. That is the reason why we are 
over here, because the American people are 
our friends and want to learn our civilization, 


so that they, too, will not have to work. Our 
civilization is so much older than theirs that it 
is no wonder if they do not know some things. 

The first American that came to our town 
made us laugh, though we liked him. He 
was very kind and gave us many presents, and 
all he wanted in return was beetles and bugs 
and birds and bats and snakes. We watched 
to see if he would eat them, but he did not. He 
put them in boxes and bottles, and when he 
went away he had enough to load two buffa 
loes. He spent days watching the ants and 

The children of the place followed him, and 
he made us all laugh many times because he 
chased butterflies with a net on a long stick. 
He could run fast and caught many. 

Some of our men who had been in the big 
city where the Americans live, said that the 
Americans often make themselves mad by 
things that they drank. They ran about the 
place shouting or fighting till they fell down 

This man who came among us must have 
been mad, but he did no harm, so we liked to 
have him among us. When he could get any 
one to interpret for him he was always asking 
questions. He wanted to know all about our 
religion and about the animals in the forest. 
He had a book and a little stick that made a 
black mark, and when we told him anything 
he made black marks in the book, and he said 
f 231 1 


that these marks would always tell him what 
we had said. That was part of his madness. 

One day he went to the chief with a paper 
on which he had been making a picture of the 
country, showing our town and the moun 
tains. He wanted to know where the river 
went to after it left the mountains. The chief 
showed which way it went for a day s journey, 
but he wanted to know where it went after 
that. But the chief said : 

What does it matter where the river 

He was very mad, for he said that the 
world is round and that the sun does not go 
round it. We know better than that, because 
we can see the sun moving, and besides our old 
men have told us the story of those things that 
has come down to us from the very beginning. 

If he was not mad, why should he, a 
stranger, be troubled about where the river 
ran? It was not his river. It was our river, 
and if we did not care, what did it matter to 

An American came to us about two years 
ago. He was a very good and kind man. He 
gave us plenty of beads and looking-glasses 
and brass wire, and he wanted some men and 
women to go with him to America. He 
wanted enough to go with him to a place 
where all the American people were gathered,* 
that they might build a village and show our 

* The St. Louis Exposition, 
f 939 1 


ways of living. He got plenty of Bontoc 
men and women to go, and when they came 
back they had so many wonders to tell us that 
it took six of them three days and three nights, 
standing up before our people talking all the 
time, and then they said that they had forgot 
ten or left out much. 

They said that the Americans had small 
suns, so many that they could not be counted, 
and these made the whole country light on the 
darkest night. They said that the people 
traveled about in houses on wheels, and these 
houses went of themselves like flying birds 
with all the people in them. They told us that 
many of the Americans houses were as tall 
as the tallest trees. We didn t think that was 
good, because who would want to climb a tree? 

All the time that the travelers were telling 
of the wonders that they had seen a great feast 
was going on in our town. It was the great 
est feast ever heard of among us. The people 
of the other towns were all invited. One hun 
dred and fifty buffaloes were killed for the 
feast, and there were pigs, goats and all sorts 
of fowls, as well as sweet potatoes, rice, fruit 
and nuts, and the chiefs ate twenty-five of the 
finest dogs. 

The best dog is a male about four years of 
age. If he is healthy and fat there is nothing 
so good when roasted with sweet potatoes. 
Short-haired dogs are the best. We eat dogs 
when we are going to war because they make 


us fierce and help us to hear, see and smell 

There was dancing every day while the big 
feast was going on, and the people that came 
from the other towns stayed for a week. 
When it was all over I went away from Bon- 
toe with a lot more men and women to come to 
America to see all the wonders. It was the 
first time I had ever been more than a day s 
journey from Bontoc. We went through the 
great forests, and it was very hot when we got 
down from the mountains. Up in our moun 
tains it is cool, but in the valleys so hot that 
some of the people fall like dead. 

There are no roads, but just thin paths 
through the woods, and these are blocked with 
creepers that have thorns on them. The w r hite 
men went very slowly; the thorns caught them 
and the creepers held them back as if they 
were big snakes. It made us laugh many 
times to see the way the white men tangled 
themselves up in the creepers. We were 
twenty days reaching the big water (130 
miles), and then only half a day going the 
same distance in a fire canoe of the white men. 
We got to the big city of the white men where 
the Spaniards used to be, but where our 
friends, the Americans, now are. 

We just had time to look at it and see that 
it was very wonderful when we had to go on 
a canoe that was as long as a man could run 
while he held three breaths. It was so big that 


it could have held all the people in our town. 
There were many people in it, and they lived 
all the time in different parts of that big canoe. 

There was a place in the middle of it where 
a great fire burned all the time ; a fire so great 
that it looked to me like the fire that is inside 
the burning mountain. I was afraid that it 
would burn us all up, but the white men knew 
how to shut it up. 

It was this fire that made the canoe go. I 
don t know how, but that was the way. We 
went very fast all the time; just as fast at 
night as in the daytime. We never stopped at 
all. After the first day or two we saw no 
land. I would never have believed there was 
so much water. How could any man tell 
where we were going, yet our canoe rushed 
ahead all the time. There was a man up 
above who told the canoe where to go. But 
how did he know ? For many days we saw no 
land, yet we kept on night and day. Even 
in dark nights when there was no moon or star 
we went on just as fast. We talked among 
ourselves, but we could not understand how 
the white men knew. 

After a long time we came to America, and 
then we saw city after city, all packed with 
wonders. At every place the white people 
crowded about us and stared as though we 
looked very strange. We were carried for 
many days in houses that went on wheels and 
flew along like birds. And now it seemed as 


if the land would never end. We must have 
come nearly a hundred days journey in a 
week. But at last we reached another big 
water again and then we stopped right on the 
shore of this great city of Coney Island, where 
there seems to be always feasting. 

All about us there is always music, but it is 
not good music, not so good as ours. 

Great crowds of people came to see us every 
day and we show them how we live. They are 
good people, but they do not look well. They 
all wear clothes, even the children. It is bad 
that any one should wear clothes, but much 
worse for the children. We pity them. They 
cannot be well, unless they leave their clothes 
off and let the wind and the sun get to their 
skins. Perhaps they are ashamed because 
they don t look well with their clothes off. 
They are thin and stooping and pale. 

That is because they work so much. It is 
very foolish to work. Men who work hard 
do not live long. 

Everything we want grows in the forest; 
we make our houses out of cane, rattan and 
leaves, our women weave our loin cloths, and 
we get our food from the trees and from the 
fields of rice and sweet potatoes and sugar 

Why cannot the Americans live like that? 
I would tell them about our ways if I could, 
because I feel sorry for them; they look sick 
and they should never put clothes on the chil- 


dren. If God had meant the children to wear 
clothes he would have clothed them himself. 

Maybe many of the people cover them 
selves up because they know that they do not 
look well without clothes ; they are too thin or 
too fat, or they are crooked. That is why the 
women hide their shapes, I suppose. But if 
they lived as our women do they would soon 
look as well as ours look. Our women by 
climbing about the mountains have large 
limbs and look handsome. 

I have seen may wonders here, but we will 
not bring any of them home to Bontoc. We 
do not want them there. 

We have the great sun and moon to light us ; 
what do we want of your little suns? The 
houses that fly like birds would be no good to 
us, because we do not want to leave Bontoc. 

The most wonderful thing that I have seen 
in the United States is the stick that you talk in 
and another man hears your voice a day s 
journey away. I have walked all around and 
looked at the back, but I can t see how it does 
it. But we don t need that ; we can call as far 
as we want to by pounding on a hollow tree 
with a club. 

This is a fine country and I like all the peo 
ple, but I am going back to Bontoc to stay 
there till I die. I don t know when I ll die; 
some people with us live to be very old 
maybe, 300 years. 




The following chapter is a composite. Three young Syrians 
of Washington Street, New York, each lent a part of his life 
to the making of it, in order that the story might be nearly repre 
sentative of the average Syrian immigrant. 

HHE house in which I was born was situ- 

^ ated in a little hamlet about half way up 

one of the spurs of the southern part of the 

Lebanon mountain range at an elevation of 

something like 6,000 feet. 

It was a house of two rooms, the largest of 
which was nearly twenty feet square and had 
a window of glass. It was a small window 
with four small panes in it. This with the 
door gave light by day, and at night a large 
stone lamp blazed. 

The walls of the house were of rough stones 
and the floor of hard clay, covered over with 
skins of sheep and goats. Our house sat on 
a terrace and its front yard was the roof of a 
neighbor s house, while its own roof was the 
front yard of another neighbor s house on the 
first terrace above. The roofs are of thick 
clay carried on wooden beams and branches. 
These Lebanon hamlets come down the moun 
tains in steps and the streets are like ladders. 


From our front yard, where some orange 
and fig trees grew, we had a fine view of the 
western end of the Mediterranean Sea, which 
looked very close but really was twenty miles 
away. We could see ships more than fifty 
miles distant from us. 

We were within ten miles of a fine grove of 
the famous cedars of Lebanon and only a 
day s journey from Baalbec, where are the 
ruins that Americans think so wonderful, but 
which did not interest us at all. Baalbec lies 
over the mountains inland, w r hile at about 
equal distance from us on the seacoast lies 
Beirut, where the Governor of the Lebanon 
district resides. 

Lebanon district, which is only 87 miles 
long, has a sort of independent government 
protected by the great Powers of Europe. 
The Pasha, though dependent on the Sultan, 
is a Christian, and we never see Turkish sol 
diers. If a small body of Turkish soldiers 
went into Lebanon they would never get out 
a^ain. There have been no outrages in the dis 
trict since the Druses, helped by the Turks, be 
gan a general massacre of Maronites in 1860. 
They killed 35,000 before the Powers in 
terfered and established the new form of 
independent government, which many of us 
believe is worse than the old Turkish domina 
tion, as all power is in the hands of the Mar- 
onite priests and monks, of whom there are 
nearly 12,000 in a population of less than 


200,000, and they are very corrupt and grind 
the people unmercifully. 

Almost all the Syrians in New York, about 
5,000 in number, have come here during the 
past twenty years, attracted by what they have 
heard of America and driven out by the Mar- 
onite priests misrule. 

The Maronites are Roman Catholics, and 
the Patriarch, who is their ruler, obeys the 
Pope of Rome. The Jesuits are very active 
in the district, and within twenty years Amer 
ican Protestant missionaries, with headquar 
ters at Beirut, have established many schools 
and missions and their influence has grown and 
is growing. Where they devote themselves to 
education they do a great deal of good, but 
where they engraft the theological subtleties 
of Protestant sects on the already sufficiently 
complex religious growth of Lebanon they 
produce as much harm and confusion as the 
Jesuits. Van Dyke as an educator did fine 
work and his name is sacred in Syria to-day. 
Most of the people in Lebanon district now 
are Maronites, but there is a large minority of 
Greek Christians and Mohammedans. 

The Maronite clergy own one-third of the 
land in the Lebanon district. They are un- 
taxed and have many monopolies. Nomi 
nally their wealth is for the poor, but actually 
the poor man is lucky if he makes a bare liv 
ing. Everything works to keep him down, no 
matter how clever and industrious he may be. 
[ 240 ] 


The rich men who own the land hire those 
who can t get land, agreeing to pay them from 
twenty to twenty-five per cent, of the value 
of crop raised. At the end of the season by 
various swindles this is reduced to about eight 
per cent., the rich man swearing falsely con 
cerning the amount received for the crop. 
The poor men out of their small share have to 
pay a government tax that amounts to a tenth 
of all that they possess. They cannot get re 
dress from the courts because these are cor 
rupt, and the rich man can buy any decision 
that he pleases. 

The principal product is silk cocoons, as the 
mulberry grows very well on Mount Lebanon. 

There was a very beautiful view, as I have 
said, from our front yard. The sea was in 
front and the mountains behind and on both 
sides. These tapered up to snowy peaks. 
Much was bare red and brown rock and clay, 
but there were also beautiful valleys. Six 
other villages and hamlets were in sight in 
easy walking distance, so that we did not lack 
neighbors. There were no shops and mer 
chandise was carried on the backs of camels 
and asses. 

When I was five years old I went to school 
and studied the Arabic alphabet. I wore a 
shirt with a girdle, in which was a horn ink 
stand with a reed pen that had a big stub cut 
slantwise. All education in Lebanon district 
is in the hands of the Maronite monks and 


friars, and a friar was my teacher. Our class 
repeated the Arabic alphabet in unison for two 
hours at a time as one of the exercises. When 
I advanced I was taught to speak Arabic and 
also to repeat and sing the Psalms of David. 
My aspiration, like that of all the other Mar- 
onite boys, was to become a priest, to say 
mass and sing in the church. We went to 
mass every day, and our appeals to Mary, who 
is the great saint of the country, were con 
stant. However, we stole fruit and flowers, 
killed chickens and ran away from school just 
like other boys elsewhere, and the friar at 
times used to bastinado us that is, beat us 
with a cane on the soles of the feet, an atten 
tion which made us howl till we could be heard 
about as far away as Cyprus. 

We played marbles and ball, and when I 
was eight years old I used to go hunting with 
an elder brother. High up on the mountains 
there is still plenty of game deer, partridge, 
rabbits, and occasionally a bear. We saw 
leopards twice, but my brother could not get 
a shot at them. 

But the principal excitement of our lives 
was caused by our wars with other boys. A 
field lay half way between our village and the 
next one. It was a desirable one from the 
standpoint of boys, as we could run races and 
jump and play ball in it. The other boys 
wanted it, too, and so we fought with sticks 
and stones many times, inflicting wounds until 


the head men of our villages came out and 
beat us with sticks. 

One evening we worked very late in order 
to make a sort of fort from which to fight the 
other boys with stones, and the darkness over 
took us when we were on the way home. We 
had to pass a graveyard and there we saw a 
ghoul at least my brother saw it, or said he 
saw it. We ran all the way home and I nearly 
died of fright. Ghouls devour the dead. 
They are quite common in Syria. I never 
heard of them hurting the living ; still the peo 
ple are madly afraid of them. My grand 
mother said that in her time there were two 
ghouls that came every night to the graveyard, 
but never before midnight, when no one could 
see them. My father thought it might have 
been a sheep or an ass in the graveyard, but my 
brother, who was twelve years old, was quite 
sure it was a ghoul. So we were careful to 
stay in the house after dark. 

All the people of our village and all the vil 
lages about us were in mortal terror about 
jinns, which kidnap living people and carry 
them away, if they do not kill them on the spot. 
My grandmother once knew a whole family 
that was carried off by the jinns and never 
heard of again. Sometimes a jinn catches a 
man alone on the mountains and casts him 
down from a precipice at least that is one of 
the beliefs of our people. 

As I advanced in school I was taught pen- 


manship. This is a most important accom 
plishment in Syria. When one says that a 
certain person is a penman it means much; 
it means that he is a scholar in the eyes of 
the community. Good penmen are much 

Grammar was far the hardest study. The 
Syrian grammar is famous for its complica 
tions and is, of course, a stumbling block on the 
road to useful learning. No one masters it, 
but all scholars spend years of their time 
struggling to commit its rules to memory. 
Books have been written about single letters 
of the alphabet, and these, also, are stumbling 

I got a little arithmetic, some history and 
geography at this first school and then I went 
to an American mission school, where my edu 
cation was continued. 

It was about fifteen years ago when I first 
began to attend the American mission school. 
This was very different from that which was 
taught by the friar. At the first school there 
were few books and I got the impression that 
there were only about 500 different books in 
the world, the most important being the 
Syrian Bible and some writings of our saints. 
The friar told us that wicked men wrote other 
books sometimes, but no one read them or 
would be allowed to read them._ 

I believed that Syria was the grandest coun 
try in the world, the Mount Lebanon district 


the finest part of Syria, the Maronite monks 
and friars the most enlightened of men, and 
the Sultan the most powerful and urbane 

Going to the American school broadened 
my horizon. I found that the world was 
larger than I had thought and that there were 
other great countries beside Syria. Gradu 
ally the idea of becoming a Maronite monk, 
forever chanting the psalms and swinging a 
censer, or domineering over the poor people, 
lost its charm for me and I began to think that 
there might be some other sort of life happier 
and more useful. I found that only a few 
priests really understood the Syriac service, 
and that their wisdom and knowledge were 
not nearly so great as I had believed. 

There was an encyclopedia at the American 
school which I learned how to use after a time 
and this broadened my ideas. I read the arti 
cles on Syria and the United States, and found 
to my astonishment that the book made the 
United States out to be a far larger and richer 
country than Syria or even Turkey. When I 
told my old teacher, the friar, about that he 
was very angry and complained to the Patri 
arch, who was scandalized to think that such a 
book should come to Mount Lebanon. He 
said that it told lies. 

I asked the American teacher and he told 
me that the encyclopedia was very carefully 
prepared, each article on a country being writ- 


ten by the men who knew most about the vari 
ous divisions of the subject. The teacher had 
a great many pictures of American cities, 
streets and scenes, and I could see that life 
in that land was very different from ours. I 
heard about the telephone, telegraph and rail 
road, and as I already knew about fire ships on 
account of seeing them go by on the water, 
it began to dawn on me that there was a very 
great and active world outside of Mount Leb 
anon, and that it might be possible to find 
something better to do than be a monk. 

The American teacher never talked to me 
about religion ; but I can see that those monks 
and priests are the curse of our country, keep 
ing the people in ignorance and grinding the 
faces of the poor while pretending to be their 

The Americans who had established the mis 
sion schools on Mount Lebanon were greatly 
hated by the Maronite monks, because they go 
right into their field, but they have kindled a 
great light and it may result in the uplifting 
not only of Syria but also of all the surround 
ing lands. 

Great changes have come in the minds of 
our people since I was a boy. They were like 
cattle in the old days and took the blows of 
their rulers as a matter of course, not knowing 
that such a thing as freedom for the common 
people existed. But at the time when I was 
going to the mission school new knowledge 


began to get about and there were whisperings 
of discontent that became louder and louder. 

Some of the boldest of our men began to 
tell each other that, the poor should have their 
own and that the courts should deal justice. 
One time a boy of about my own age told me 
that if I went up the mountain a mile and a 
half and looked under the exposed roots of a 
great tree to which he pointed I would find 
something good. He was a bold, wild boy 
and I did not know what he meant or whether 
he was just joking. Nevertheless I went as 
he directed and in a copper cylinder I found a 
number of newspapers which were printed in 
Arabic. They were from New York, written 
by Syrians residing there, and they bitterly at 
tacked the Government of Lebanon, the Mar- 
onite priests and the Sultan of Turkey, saying 
that Lebanon and Syria could never have free 
dom till all these were overthrown. 

I was much frightened at reading these 
papers and quickly put them back where I 
had found them and ran away from the place, 
for I -thought that if any priest found me with 
them I might lose my life. When I agaiw 
met the boy who told me about those papers 
I hung down my head and hurried past him. 
I was afraid, and besides I still thought that 
our Government was as good as any. 

Little by little my mind began to change 
and my eyes to open, till I could see that our 
people really were suffering terrible wrongs 


which did not exist in some other countries, 
and at last I had a personal experience of the 
corruptness of the courts that made me feel 
that a revolution was needed. 

My father, who died when I was young, 
left, in addition to our house, certain property 
in land, cattle and sheep that was of about the 
value of $6,000. This was in the hands of his 
best friend. Another man made claim to it, 
saying that my father had sold to him, arid 
producing a forged bill of sale and receipt for 
the money. My mother went to the court 
with witnesses to prove the forgery and the 
judge put her off from time to time. Her 
witnesses were threatened and actually driven 
away from court on the day of the trial, and 
a decision was given in favor of the forger. 
My mother went to the judge with her uncle, 
who had the statements of our witnesses about 
the forgery, but the judge flew in a passion, 
insulted my uncle and drove him and my 
mother away. Then they appealed and for 
three years more were kept waiting. At the 
end of that time the court again decided 
against them, refusing to let our witnesses 
tell their story and seizing their property and 
the property of my uncle to pay the costs. 

An appeal was then made to the Governor 
at Beirut, and there was much more delay, but 
we could never get him to listen to us, and 
every time we went it cost us money. 

My uncle, who had a high temper, was very 


angry at this treatment and said one time in 
the hearing of a monk that the judges were 
rascals and the Governor not any better^ and 
two days later he was put in prison and his 
friends had to pay much money to get him 

When he came to our house again he told 
us that we should all have to leave the country 
now, for the officials would give us no rest. 
He went to Beirut and asked about the steam 
ships there, and we found that we could get 
one that would take us direct to New York, 
the place where the Arabic newspapers that 
attacked our Government were printed. We 
knew that that was in the United States, and 
we had heard that poor people were not op 
pressed there. 

We sold all our remaining possessions and 
found that we had about $60 left after we 
had paid for our passage on the steamer. The 
passage cost us $170 and we were three weeks 
making it, for we stopped at Egypt and Italy 
and some French and Spanish cities before we 
stretched out on that run across the Atlantic 
Ocean. I had never seen any city except 
Beirut before, and the voyage up the Mediter 
ranean was to me a series of the most astonish 
ing pictures. But all these seemed small after 
I came into New York bay and found myself 
almost surrounded by cities, any one of which 
was far larger and grander than any I had 
seen in Europe. We passed close by the 
[ 249 ] 


grand Statue of Liberty and saw in the dis 
tance the beautiful white bridge away up in 
the blue sky and the big buildings towering 
up like our own mountain peaks. I was 
almost prepared to see snow on their tops, 
though it was the summer time nine years ago. 

My uncle had a friend who met us at Ellis 
Island and helped to get us quickly out of the 
vessel, and ten hours after we had come into 
the bay we were established in two rooms in 
the third story of a brick house in Washing 
ton Street, only three blocks away from Bat 
tery Park. Two minutes walk from us was 
roaring Broadw r ay, seven minutes walking 
brought us to the Bridge entrance, and fifteen 
minutes walk brought us to the center of the 
bridge, where, high up above the city and in 
air that rushed in from the ocean and was as 
fresh as that in mid- Atlantic, we saw a part of 
the wonderful picture of New York spread 
out. It was stunning after the quiet of our 
hamlet. I took in that picture day after day 
during the first week after my landing here. 
There was so much that was strange and new 
and suggestive of life and power that I never 
got tired of looking at the buildings on the 
land and the vessels of all sorts that shot about 
through the waters. 

I went at night also and saw the city more 

wonderful than ever, the buildings outlined in 

the darkness, in chains and rows and circles 

and ropes of various colored lights illumi- 



nated diamonds and rubies, emeralds, pearls, 
topazes and all other gems. Never was there 
such an illumination. 

I had learned English in the mission school 
and as I was a good penman I had no difficulty 
in securing work as a clerk in an Oriental 
goods store, where some other Syrians were 
employed. My uncle, who understands the 
art of inlaying with silver, ivory and mother of 
pearl, also got work, and my mother kept 
house for us and added to our joint income by 
embroidering slippers after the Lebanon fash 
ion. Between us we earned $22 a week, and 
as our rent was only $10 a month and food did 
not cost any more than $6 a week, we saved 

I remained a clerk for three years and then 
became a reporter for a Syrian newspaper, as 
I thought that my education entitled me to 
aspire. At first my paper was pro- Turkish, 
but when the recent Armenian atrocities be 
gan we found a state of aff airs that we could 
not possibly defend and were impelled to assail 
the Turkish Government and especially the 
Sultan in fact, made a great many bitter 
attacks on him. 

Some of these papers by secret means we 
managed to circulate in Turkey and espe 
cially in Syria, and I soon found that I was a 
marked man. 

In 1897, desiring to revisit Syria, I resigned 
from the newspaper and secured passage on a 


steamer; but I did not go, for I found that 
the Turkish Consul here had telegraphed to 

"A about to leave New York. Arrest him." 

I went back to work on the newspaper, but 
a year later started a printing office of my own 
in Washington Street, which is the center of 
our quarter. Soon I had a newspaper of my 
own. This now comes out three times a week. 

I attacked the Turkish Government, and es 
pecially the Sultan, more strongly than ever, 
and managed by secret contrivances to circu 
late my newspaper quite widely in Syria, as 
well as openly here. I spoke for the young 
Syria Association, which was organized here 
four years ago and now includes most of our 
people. It wants freedom from Syria. Of 
course we do not suppose that Syria could be 
a nation standing alone, but, protected by the 
Powers, it could enjoy real self-government, 
and it is that and the banishment of the mis- 
rulers that we demand. 

An effort was made to win me over to the 
pro-Turkish party. A priest walked into my 
office one day nearly two years ago and, after 
telling me that he represented the Patriarch, 
began to remonstrate concerning my attacks 
on the Sultan. He said: 

" I have heard about you from the old coun 
try and I advise you not to write against the 


I said: " Father, what do you want? " 

He answered: "My Patriarch has empow 
ered me to tell you that, although you have 
been condemned as a criminal, we can procure 
your pardon and have you decorated and given 
the title of Bey, provided you stop attacking 
the Sultan and make your paper say that he 
is a good man who deserves the support of all 
loyal Syrians." 

I replied: "Don t come here another time 
and say such things to me. If you were not a 
priest I would insult you." 

He went away and I heard no more from 
him, but I afterward received a copy of a 
proclamation issued concerning me by Ra- 
sheed Bey, Governor of Beirut. : It is dated 
March 12th, 1902. I translate it as follows: 


Because L J A , who is medium in 

height, dark complexioned, with chestnut eyes, light 
hair and mustache, and whose age is 29 and who is 
from the village of Rome, El Matten, Mount Leba 
non, who has published many articles that make harm 
for his Imperial Highness, the Sultan, and which are 
full of treason and cursed, and who fled from this 
country because his doings are criminal, we hereby 
condemn him to death, according to Article 66 of the 
Criminal Code. 

And this will give notice to the officials of the Gov 
ernment, military and civil, and the justices, that they 

are to arrest this A if he conies within their 

jurisdiction, and give him to the court. 


My assistant editor has also since been con 
demned to death. 

The authorities of the Syrian Church are 
pro-Turkish, having been captured by the 
Government. They wear the Sultan s deco 
rations and receive his gifts and they are not 
true to their own people. The Sultan rules by 
means of such people and the huge army of 
spies that he maintains all over the empire. 

It is the Sultan of Turkey himself who is 
responsible for the Armenian massacres. He 
is a bloody minded tyrant, the very worst Sul 
tan who ever sat on the Turkish throne. I 
have said so many times in my newspaper. 

We look upon England as having much 
responsibility for the Armenian massacres. 
If she had not held Russia back Turkey would 
long ago have been wiped off the map, and the 
Christians now under her Government would 
be safe in the enjoyment of their property and 
the practice of their religion. But lately it 
has been Germany that has come to the front 
as the champion of Turkey. When he was in 
Palestine three years ago the Emperor of Ger 
many met Zoab Pasha and publicly rebuked 
him for having surrendered Crete to the 

The little Syrian city which we have estab 
lished within the big city of New York has 
its distinctive life and its distinctive institu 
tions. It has six newspapers printed in 
Arabic, one of them a daily ; it has six churches 


conducted by Syrian priests, and many stores, 
whose signs, wares and owners are all Syrian. 

There are two Syrian drug stores and many 
dry goods, notions, jewelry, antiques and 
French novelties, and manufacturers of 
brooches, kimonas, wrappers, suspenders, to 
bacco, cigarettes, silk embroidery, silk shawls, 
Oriental goods, rugs, arms, etc. A Syrian res 
taurant recently established in Cortlandt 
Street is the best in the city. Our people are 
active and are doing well in business here, as 
any one may know by looking at the number 
of advertisements in the newspapers. 

When we first came we expected to return 
to Syria, but this country is very attractive and 
we have stayed until we have put out roots. 
Two- thirds of our men now are American cit 
izens, and the others are fast progressing 
along the same lines. Still we feel friendship 
for the old country and a desire to secure her 
welfare and especially her freedom. 

When we say that 300,000 Christian people 
have recently been butchered by the Turks in 
Armenia it does not convey any clear idea to 
the American mind because people here are so 
used to peace and order and their imaginations 
simply refuse to think out the details. 

Let us, then, take a village of 300 Armeni 
ans that has off ended the Pasha of the district 
but has forgotten the incident. In the morn 
ing all the people get up and go about their 
work ; the whole place hums with life and mer- 


riment. Suddenly there is an alarm: "The 
soldiers are coming!" Then the people re 
member that the Pasha is offended and the 
wildest confusion results. Then women and 
children run shrieking through the streets, 
calling to each, collecting their families, and 
then trying to run to some place of conceal 

But the laughing soldiers are upon them, 
making sport of their fear and their suffer 
ings. The guns soon quiet the fighting men 
and the youths, and then the boys and old 
women are slaughtered at leisure and with 
true relish. The pretty women are left till the 

Soon after the site of that village is covered 
with ashes and corpses. 

If Americans repeat that picture a thousand 
times they may have some conception of what 
the Armenian massacres really are. 

They express the Turk at his very worst as 
we find him in the person of the Sultan. 

Such things are not done in Syria, because 
Syria is on the seacoast and the war ships of 
the Christian Powers are very convenient. In 
1860 the Druses began massacring Christians 
in Syria, but the Christian Powers interfered 
and since then the Christians there have been 
under the protection of those Powers. 

But Armenia is remote and the Turkish 
Government can lie about the causes and re 
sults of trouble there. 

[ 256 ] 




Those who have wondered what was behind the uniform 
politeness and unreadable face of a Japanese servant will be 
interested in this very frank confession of one, whose precon 
ceived ideal of America as a land of opportunity and equality 
has been disproved by his experience here. No alterations 
whatever have been made in the manuscript, for his occasional 
use of Japanese idioms and of bookish English makes his narra 
tive all the more personal and naive. He requests his name 
withheld, but possibly some of his employers will recognize 
themselves as seen in a Japanese mirror. 

THE desire to see America was burning at 
my boyish heart. The land of freedom 
and civilization of which I heard so much from 
missionaries and the wonderful story of 
America I heard of those of my race who re 
turned from here made my longing ungov 
ernable. Meantime I have been reading a 
popular novel among the boys, " The Adven 
turous Life of Tsurukichi Tanaka, Japanese 
Robinson Crusoe." How he acquired new 
knowledge from America and how he is hon 
ored and favored by the capitalists in Japan. 
How willingly he has endured the hardships 
in order to achieve the success. The story 
made a strong impression on my mind. 
Finally I made up my mind to come to this 
country to receive an American education. 


I was an orphan and the first great trouble 
was who will help me the expense? I have 
some property my father left for me. But a 
minor has not legally inherited, hence no 
power to dispossess them. There must be at 
least 200 yen for the fare and equipment. 
While 200 yen has only exchange value to 
$100 of American gold, the sum is really a 
considerable amount for a boy. Two hundred 
yen will be a sufficient capital to start a small 
grocery store in the country town or to start 
a prospective fish market in the city. Of 
course, my uncle shook his head and would not 
allow me to go to America. After a great 
deal of difficulty and delay I have prevailed 
over his objection. My heart swelled joy 
when I got a passport, Government permis 
sion to leave the country, after waiting thirty 
days investigated if really I am a student and 
who are the guardians to pay money in case 
of necessity. A few days later I found my 
self on board the Empress of Japan, of the 
Canadian Pacific Line. The moment steamer 
commence to leave Yokohama I wished to 
jump back to shore, but was too late and I 
was too old and ashamed to cry. 

After the thirteen days weary voyage we 
reached Victoria, B. C. When I have landed 
there I have disappointed as there not any 
wonderful sight to be seen not much different 
that of foreign settlement in Yokohama. My 
destination was Portland, Ore., where my 


cousin is studying. Before I took a boat in 
Puget Sound to Tacoma, Wash., we have to 
be examined by the immigration officer. To 
my surprise these officers looked to me like a 
plain citizen no extravagant dignity, no au 
thoritative air. I felt so envious, I said to 
myself, " Ah! Indeed this is the characteristic 
of democracy, equality of personal right so 
well shown." I respect the officers more on 
this account. They asked me several ques 
tions. I answered with my broken English I 
have learned at Yokohama Commercial 
School. Finally they said: " So you are a 
student? How much money have you at 
hand?" I showed them $50. The law re 
quires $30. The officers gave me a piece of 
stamped paper certificate to permit me go 
into the United States. I left Victoria 8 
p. M. and arrived Tacoma, Wash,, 6 A. M. 
Again I have surprised with the muddy streets 
and the dirty wharf. I thought the wharf of 
Yokohama is hundred times better. Next 
morning I left for Portland, Ore. 

Great disappointment and regret I have ex 
perienced when I was told that I, the boy of 
17 years old, smaller in stature indeed than an 
ordinary 14 years old American boy, imper 
fect in English knowledge, I can be any use 
here, but become a domestic servant, as the 
field for Japanese very narrow and limited. 
Thus reluctantly I have submitted to be a re 
cruit of the army of domestic servants of 


which I ever dreamed up to this time. The 
place where I got to work in the first time was 
a boarding house. My duties were to peel po 
tatoes, wash the dishes, a few laundry work, 
and also I was expected to do whatever mis 
tress, waitress and cook has told me. 

When I first entered the kitchen wearing a 
white apron what an uncomfortable and mor 
tifying feeling I experienced. I thought I 
shall never be able to proceed the work. I 
felt as if I am pressed down on my shoulder 
with loaded tons of weight. My heart palpi 
tates. I did not know what I am and what 
to say. I stood by the door of kitchen motion 
less like a stone, with a dumbfounded silence. 
The cook gave me a scornful look and said 
nothing. Perhaps at her first glance she per 
ceived me entirely unfit to be her help. A 
kindly looking waitress, slender, alert Swedish 
girl, sympathetically put the question to me if 
I am first time to work. She said, " Oh ! well, 
you will get learn and soon be used to it! " as 
if she has fully understand the situation. In 
deed, this ordinary remarks were such a en 
couragement. She and cook soon opened the 
conference how to rescue me. In a moment I 
was to the mercy of Diana of the kitchen like 
Arethusa. Whistling up the courage I 
started to work. The work being entirely 
new and also such an unaccustomed one, I felt 
exceedingly unpleasant and hard. Sonorous 
voice from the cook of my slowness in peeling 
[ 260 ] 


potatoes often vibrated into my tympanum. 
The waitress occasionally called out for the 
butter plates and saucers at the top of her 
displeasing voice. Frequently the words 
" Hurry up ! " were added. I always noticed 
her lips at the motion rather than hands. The 
proprietor, an old lady, painstakingly taught 
me to work how. Almost always commenc 
ing the phrase " I show you " and ending 
k Did you understand? " The words were so 
prominently sounded ; finally made me tired of 
it and latter grew hated to hear of it. Taking 
the advantage of my green hand Diana of 
kitchen often unloaded hers to me. Thus I 
have been working almost all the time from 
5.30 A. M. to 9 p. M, When I got through the 
day s work I was tired. 

Things went on, however, fairly well for 
the first six days, forgetting my state and try 
ing to adapt my own into the environment. 
But when Sunday come all my subsided emo 
tions sprung up, recollecting how pleasantly I 
used spend the holidays. This memory of 
past pleasure vast contrast of the present one 
made me feel ache. What would the boys in 
Japan say if they found me out. I am thus 
employed in the kitchen receiving the orders 
from the maid-servant whom I have once 
looked down and thought never to be equal 
while I was dining at my uncle s house. I feel 
the home-sick. I was so lonesome and so 
sorry that I came to America. Ignoring the 


kind advice of my friends, rejecting the offer 
of help from my uncle at home, quickened by 
my youthful sentiment to be the independent, 
and believing the work alone to be the noble, I 
came to this country to educate myself worthy 
to my father s name. How beautiful idea it 
was while it existed in imagination, but how 
hard it is when it came to practice. There was 
no honor, no responsibility, no sense of duty, 
but the pliancy of servitude was the cardinal 
requirement. There is no personal liberty 
while your manhood is completely ignored. 

Subduing my vanity, overcoming from the 
humiliation and swallowing down all the com 
plaints, weariness and discouragement, I went 
on one week until Sunday. In spite of my 
determination to face into the world, manly 
defending my own in what I have within, to 
gether with my energy and ability, I could not 
resist .the offspring from my broken-hearted 
emotions. Carrying the heavy and sad heart 
I . was simply dragged by the day s routine 
work. The old lady inquired me if I am not 
sick. I replied, " No." Thank enough for a 
first time she gave me a chance to rest from 
1 o clock to 4 afternoon. Sooner I retired 
into my room, locked the door, throwing the 
apron away. I cast myself down on the bed 
and sobbed to my heart contention. Thus let 
out all my suppressed emotion of grief from 
the morning. You might laugh at me, yet 
none the less it was a true state of my mind 


at that moment. After this free outburst of 
my passion I felt better. I was keenly felt 
the environment was altogether not congenial. 
I noticed myself I am inclining considerably 

After I stay thereabout ten days I asked 
the old lady that I should be discharged. She 
wanted me to state the reason. My real ob 
jection was that the work was indeed too hard 
and unpleasant for me to bear and also there 
were no time even to read a book. But I 
thought it rather impolite to say so and partly 
my strange pride hated to confess my weak 
ness, fearing the reflection as a lazy boy. 
Really I could not think how smoothly I 
should tell my reasons. So I kept silent 
rather with a stupefied look. She suggested 
me if the work were not too hard. It was just 
the point, but how foolish I was; I did posi 
tively denied. Then why can you not stay 
here ? "~ she went on. I said, childishly, "I 
have nothing to complain; simply I wants to 
go back to New York. My passion wants to." 
Then she smiled and said, " Poor boy; you bet 
ter think over; I shall speak to you to-mor 
row." Next day she told me how she shall 
be sorry to lose me just when I have began to 
be handy to her after the hard task to taught 
me work how. Tactfully she persuaded me 
to stay. At the end of second week I asked 
my wages, but she refused on the ground that 
if she does I might leave her. Day by day my 


sorrow and regret grew stronger. My heavy 
heart made me feel so hard to work. At that 
moment I felt as if I am in the prison assigned 
to the hard labor. My coveted desire was to 
he freed from the yoke of this old lady. Be 
lieving the impossibility to obtain her sanction, 
early in the next morning while everybody still 
in the bed, I hide my satchel under the bush 
in the back yard. When mistress went on 
market afternoon, while everybody is busy, I 
have jumped out from the window and climbed 
up the fence to next door and slip away. 
Leaving the note and wages behind me, I hur 
ried back to Japanese Christian Home. 

Since then I have tried a few other places 
with a better success at each trial and in course 
of time I have quite accustomed to it and 
gradually become indifferent as the humilia 
tion melted down. Though I never felt proud 
of this vocation, in several cases I have com 
menced to manifest the interest of my avoca 
tion as a professor of Dust and Ashes. The 
place where I worked nearly three years was 
an ideal position for a servant as could be had. 
The master was a manager of a local whole 
sale concern. He was a man of sunny side 
of age, cultured and careful, conservative gen 
tleman, being a graduate of Princeton. His 
wife, Mrs. B., was young and pretty, dignified 
yet not boasted. She was wonderfully indus 
trial lady. She attends woman s club, church 
and social functions. Yet never neglect her 


home duty. Sometimes I found her before 
the sewing machine. She was such a devoted 
wife whenever she went out shopping, to club, 
or afternoon tea, or what not, she was always 
at home before her husband come back from 
the office. Often she went out a block or two 
to meet him and then both come home to 
gether side by side. Their home life was in 
deed an ideal one. Their differences were 
easily made out. It was very seldom the mas 
ter alone goes out the evening, except in busi 
ness. Occasionally they went to the theater 
and concert. Every Sunday both went to 
gether to the morning service and afternoon 
they drived to the cemetery, where the mis 
tress s beloved mother resting eternally. 

She was such a sympathetic young lady 
whenever I was busy, being near examination. 
She arranged for me not to have any company 
and very often they have dined out. Indeed, 
I adored her as much as Henry Esmond did 
to Lady Castlemond. She was, however, not 
angel or goddess. Sometimes she showed the 
weakness of human nature. One day while 
I was wiping the mirror of the hall stand the 
mirror slipped down and broken to pieces. 
Fortunately she was around and witnessed the 
w r hole process. It was indeed a pure accident. 
It is bad enough to break the mirror even in 
Japan, as we write figuratively the broken 
mirror, meaning the divorce. In old mytho 
logical way we regard the mirror as a woman s 


heart. I felt very bad with the mingling emo 
tion of guilt and remorse. She repeated 
nearly rest of the day how it is a bad luck and 
were I only been careful so on. Made me ex 
ceedingly uncomfortable. 

I was exceedingly hate to leave her place, 
but I got through High School, and there was 
no colleges around. Hence I was compelled 
to bid farewell to my adored and respected 
mistress, who was kind enough to take me as 
her protege and treated me an equal. It 
seems to me no language are too extravagant 
to compliment her in order to express my grat 
itude toward her. 

Next position I had was in New York a 
family of up-to-date fashionable mistress. I 
was engaged as a butler. I have surprised 
the formality she observe. The way to open 
the door, salute the guest, language to be used 
according to the rank of the guests and how 
to handle the name card. Characteristic sim 
plicity of democracy could not be seen in this 
household. I am distinctly felt I am a ser 
vant, as the mistress artificially created the 
wide gap between her and me. Her tone of 
speech were imperial dignity. I have only to 
obey her mechanically and perform automati 
cally the assigned duty. To me this state of 
things were exceedingly dull. I know I am 
servant full well, yet I wished to be treated as 
a man. I thought she is so accustomed the 
"sycophancy and servility of the servants she 


could not help but despise them. Perhaps the 
experience forced her to think the servants 
cannot he trusted and depended upon. I 
thought I might be able to improve the situa 
tion by convincing her my efficiency and also 
I have no mercenary spirit. Though the posi 
tion may be a disgraceful one, I consoled my 
own, hoping to make it pure and exalt little 
higher by the recognition of my personality 
by my master and mistress. I was anxious to 
find out of my mistress s strongest principle 
of her self-regard. I have carefully listened 
her conversation in the dining table with her 
husband, of whom I regretfully observed the 
traces of the hard-hearted and close-fitted sel 
fishness, and at the afternoon tea with her 
friends. But each occasion made me feel dis 
appointed. One day she told me go out get 
for her the cigarettes. Out of my surprise I 
said to her, " Do you smoke? " I had not a 
least bit of idea that the respectful American 
lady would smoke. I was plainly told that 
I am her servant. I got to obey whatever she 
wants to. Same afternoon I have been told 
to serve the afternoon tea. The mistress see 
ing the tea cup, said to me, " No, no; put the 
glass for the champagne, of course." I was 
once more surprised. Meantime the luxuri 
ously dressed, pretty looking creature whom, 
when I met at the hallway, they were so digni 
fied with the majestic air and impressed me as 
if they were the living angels ; but, to my utter 


disgust, these fair, supposed innocent sex 
drunk and smoke like men do. Next day I 
tendered my resignation to my ladyship. 

Another new impression I have obtained in 
this household. One day I noticed a diagram 
map of the lineage of the family hanging on 
the wall of the reception room. The ancestor 
was a knight of Crusade. This phenomena 
has quite struck me. Before I came to this 
country I have told my uncle the worship of 
ancestor is a primitive idea and boast of ances 
tor is a remnant notion of Feudalism. I shall 
be my own ancestor. I remember how he rep 
rimanded me with a red hot angry. Still at 
the bottom of my heart I have contended I 
am right. I thought I rather worship Frank 
lin and Emerson. Now I must say that 
human nature is everywhere just the same. 

One summer I worked at steam yacht as a 
cabin boy. Captain, Chief and sailors were 
all good-natured human being. I do not see 
why they have been called as sea dogs. When 
you come contact with them they are really the 
lovely fellow. Indeed, they are good for 
nothing; too honest and too simple-minded to 
succeed modern complicated business world. 
Of course they use the unbecoming languages, 
but they really does not mean so. They use 
swearing even when they expose their joy and 
appreciation. I am soon nicknamed as " Jap 
Politician," as I have always fight against the 
ship crew of their socialistic tendency, def end- 


ing the statesmen and wealthy people. It is 
wonderful how the morbid socialistic senti 
ment saturated among the unhealthy mind of 
the sailors. 

Although I has been advocated the gospel 
of wealth and extolled the rich, I hate the rich 
people who display their wealth and give me 
a tip in a boastful manner. I felt I am in 
sulted and I have protested. Sometime the 
tip was handed down indirectly from the hands 
of the captain. Each time when I have 
obliged to take the tip I am distinctly felt 
" the gift without giver is bare." I, however, 
thankfully accepted the offer from a lady who 
give me the money in such a kind and sympa 
thetic manner. A gentleman gave one dollar, 
saying, " I wish this were ten times as much; 
still I want you keep it for me to help your 
study." Indeed this one dollar how precious 
1 felt. Once a fastidious lady was on the 
board. She used to kick one thing to another. 
Of course I did not pay any attention. 
Whenever she scold me, I said at heart, " It s 
your pleasure to blame me, lady. I, on my 
part, simply to hear you. I am not almighty ; 
I cannot be a perfect. If I made mistake I 
shall correct. You might bully me as you 
please and treat me like a dog, I shall not ob 
ject. I have a soul within me. My vital 
energy in self-denying struggle could not be 
impaired by your despise. On the contrary, it 
will be stimulated." That the way I used to 


swallowed down all the reprimand she gave 
me. 1, however, getting tired to hear her 
sharp tongue and hoping to be on the good 
term with her. One morning I have exerted 
an exceptionally good care to clean her cabin. 
Right after I got through her compartment 
she called me back and told me that I did not 
take a care of. I replied emphatically with a 
conviction, " I did my best under the circum 
stance." But she insisted I must do better 
next time. Then she took out dollar bill, gave 
; t to me. I refused to take it. She thrust 
the money into my hand. I have thrown back 
the paper money to her feet. " Madam, this 
is the bribe and graft. I am amply paid from 
the owner of the yacht to serve you," said I. 
:t No, madam; no tip for me." Without wait 
ing her answer, while she seemed taken en 
tirely surprised, I quickly withdrew from her. 
Since then she has entirely changed her atti 
tude toward me. 

While I was working on the boat I noticed 
the cook making a soup from a spring chicken 
and a good size of fine roast beef. I am 
amazed of the extravagant use of the material. 
I asked him why he do not use the soup meat 
and a cheaper roaster for making the soup. I 
was told it s none of my business and get out 
from the place. Daily I witnessed the terri 
ble scene of wasting the food. I often 
thought something ought to be done. It s 
just economic crime. The foodstuff cook 


thrown away overboard would be more than 
enough to support five families in the East 
Side. Yet the fellow honored as an excellent 
cook and especially praised of his soup ! 

The owner of the yacht and mistress were 
very agreeable persons ; the children, too, were 
also lovely and good-natured youngsters. I 
shall never forget the kindness and considera 
tion shown by them. While I am waiting on 
the table I have often drawn into the conversa 
tion. The mistress, unlike the wife who com 
mands an enormous fortune, possessed a good 
common sense and has a sensible judgment in 
treating of her dependence, as she was cul 
tured lady. The owner of the boat was the 
man of affairs; a broad-minded man he was. 
He has had struggling days in his early life. 
He has shown me great deal of sympathy. I 
did indeed " just love " to serve them, as one 
of the sailors has said to me. 

Next summer I have been told by Mr. C. to 
work his yacht again. He said he would pay 
me $40 per month and if I stayed whole sea 
son he would add to it $100. " This $100 is 
not charity; it my appreciation for your self- 
denying struggle, to help your school ex 
penses," said he. How hard it was to reject 
for such a kind offer. I asked two days for 
the answer. Finally I have decided to refuse, 
as I had some reasons to believe there are pos 
sibility to develop my ability in another direc 
tion more congenial line. For days I did not 


hear from him. I thought I am sure he has 
angered me. I was waiting the occasion to 
explain to him fully and apologize. About 
a month later I got the message to come to his 
office. To my surprise Mr. C. told me he 
would give me $50 at the fall to help me out 
my school expenses. He said, " I am inter 
ested with you. You will be a great man 
some day. I wanted to express by apprecia 
tion to the hard spot within you. How 
gratefully I felt. I did not find the suitable 
phrase to express my thanks, so I simply said, 
; Thank you." But inwardly I did almost 
worshiped him. I felt I am not alone in this 
world. What encouragement Mr. C. s words 
to me; I felt as though I got the reinforce 
ment of one regiment. 

Shall I stop here with this happy memory? 
Yet before I close this confession I cannot 
pass on without disclosing a few incidence I 
suffered from the hands of inconsiderate mil 
lionaire. About three years ago I have 
worked as a butler in a millionaire s mansion 
at N. J. Mistress was the young lady about 
twenty-three years old and the master was 
forty-five years old. Every morning mis 
tress would not get up till eleven o clock. 
Master gets up at six. So we servants serve 
twice breakfast. At the dinner often mistress 
and master served the different sort of food. 
One day I was sick and asked three days ab 
sent to consult Japanese physician in New 


York. According the advice of doctor I 
have written twice asking to be given two 
more days to rest. I did not get answer. 
After I stay out five days I took 1.30 p. M. 
train from Jersey City; returned house 4 
p. M. As soon as I entered the mansion the 
master told me I am discharged. This was 
the reward for my faithful service of eight 
months. I wanted to know the reason for. 
He simply said he wants to have waitress and 
told me to hurry to pack up my belonging 
and leave instantly. I asked, however, the 
reference to be given. He said he would send 
forward to New York by mail. I was every 
thing ready in one hour; left his mansion at 
5 P. M. to the station, where I waited one hour 
and a half. I returned New York again 9 
P. M.^ with hunger and exhausted from emo 
tion, as I am not quite recovered from my ill 
ness. Since then three times I asked for ref 
erence; he never answered. Until now it is 
quite mystery what made him angry me. His 
action handicapped me greatly to hunt new 

Once I was engaged as a second butler in 
the villa of a retired merchant. When I got 
there I found myself I am really a useful man 
as well as second butler, as I am requested to 
make the beds of coachmen, carry up the coal 
for the cook, help the work of chambermaid, 
laundress and housekeeper wanted me to do. 
The members of the family were only three, 


old gentleman, old lady and their daughter- 
old maid. They were proud and aristocratic. 
They would not speak to servants except to 
give order and reprimand. There were ten 
servants to serve them. An old lady and old 
maid has nothing to do but to watch rigidly 
how servants work. The old gentleman was 
lovely, good-natured man. So we servants 
called an old lady the queen regent, her daugh 
ter prosecute attorney, the housekeeper, de 
tective. Every morning I wash the front 
door porch at 6 A. M. But sometime mail car 
rier or coachman leave the footmarks after I 
have cleaned the steps. Later prosecutor get 
up. If she found the marks she will upbraid 
me that I did not swept the place at all. When 
she come to reception room every morning 
first thing she would do was this, drew out her 
snow-white clean handkerchief, wrap up her 
forefinger and scrape the crossboard at the 
bottom of chair and also the corners of wood 
work. If by chance any dust deposited to the 
handkerchief there will be a thunder of repri 
mand. The housekeeper-detective was a timid 
and sensitive woman. She enforced zealously 
the oppressive domestic rules issued by the 
queen regent. We were told not to talk aloud 
or laugh. If we commence to gay and our 
voice began louder sure the detective come for 
explanation. I was always looked by her as 
suspicious boy. There must be complete 
silence be ruled, hence somewhat gloomy. I 


have openly called housekeeper " Miss Detec 
tive " and told her, " We ought make this 
household little cheerful. Let us have sun 
shine, Miss Detective," said I. While the lux 
urious dishes are served in the table, the meals 
given for the servants was lamentably poor 
one. The dog meat or soup meat was given 
to our dinner. The morning papers was not 
allowed to be read until 9 P. M. Besides I 
was expected to work all the time ; this was im 
possible physically. One afternoon I am so 
tired I sat down in the chair at the pantry and 
rested. Miss Detective came inquired why I 
am not working. I said to her, " I have done 
everything assigned to me. I am not machine. 
I cannot work all the time." Soon I was 
called out before the queen. Her majesty 
asked me what I have been doing. I replied, 
" Nothing, madam." " But you must do 
something, B.," said her majesty. : Did you 
cleaned the windows of my room? " " I have 
washed that windows last Saturday; this is 
Wednesday. They are clean, madam." 
Last Saturday! You must wash that win 
dows any way this week! " I told her it is 
foolish to waste money and it is more 
so to waste energy. " Do you know to 
whom you are speaking? " said she. " Do it 
now! " Finding no use to argue with her I 
went on to clean the windows. As soon as 
that is done I told Miss Detective I want to 
leave instantly; it is perfectly nonsense to 


work to such a person to enslave myself. Miss 
Detective, finding me beyond her control, send 
me up to the head of family. The old gentle 
man said: " Say, B., do you understand the 
law protect you and me." " No, sir; not 
always for a servant. The law might protect 
you and your millions are ample enough to 
break the law," said I in a sulky mood. " All 
I can do is to escape from the law. You can 
get rid of your servant when you dislike him. 
If I insist to quit immediately you can with 
hold my wages and could compel me to stay 
till the month out, as I have been engaged so, 
by resorting to the law." He said I must stay 
till my successor be found. Finally we have 
compromised that I should stay five days 

Greatest trouble and disadvantage to be a 
domestic servant is that he has to be absolutely 
subjected under the emotional rule of the mis 
tress. No amount of candid or rational argu 
ment will avail. No matter how worthy your 
dissenting opinion be, if it does not please your 
mistress you have to suffer for it. Once I 
worked for a widow lady whose incomes are 
derived from the real estate, stock and bonds. 
She is economizing so strictly that often handi 
capped me. One day, taking the chances of 
her good humor, I told her that her well 
meant efforts are the misapplication of her 
energy, trying to save her pin money through 
the economy of gas bill and grocery bill 


in the old-fashioned way while neglecting 
to avail herself to the " modern high finance 
scheme " hereby she may improve her re 
sources. The reward of this speech was an 
honorable discharge! To be a successful ser 
vant is to make yourself a fool. This habitual 
submission will bring a lamentable effect to 
the one s brain function. Day after day 
throughout the years confined into the kitchen 
and dining-room, physically tired, unable to 
refresh yourself in the way of mental reci 
procity, even the bright head will suffer if 
stay too long as a servant. Of course, one s 
character will be greatly improved and re 
fined by serving the employer like Mr. C. 
and Mrs. B. But they are exception. Ma 
jority of employer will not be interested in 
their servants. 

The motive of my engaging in the domestic 
work, no matter how meritorious it may intrin 
sically be, our people look with me the scorn 
ful eyes if not with positive despise. The 
doors of prominent Japanese family closed 
before me. Sometimes I was unrecognized by 
the fellow students from Japan, who are sons 
of wealth. I wrote one day a few lines to 
console myself: 

Who does scorn the honest toil 
Mayest ungraceful post thou hail 
When the motive is true and pure 
The wealth of learning to store. 


O ! never say that my humble lot 
Does harm the fame of fortunate sons 
Of Yamato. Disgrace me not. 
How wilt thou feel, were it thine once. 

How I suffer within knowest thou not ; 
Aspiring hope alone animates weary heart. 
Year after year and day after day 
To realize the hope dear to my destiny. 

Unknown to shape my destination 
My heart sobered with resignation. 
But far from to be the misanthropist 
The love of life giving the keener zest. 

I kneel down for the silent prayer, 
Concealing my own I toil and prepare 
Over the rough sea I steer my heart, 
And absorbed the whole my thought. 

O what joy how blessed I am! 

With inspiring hope for my future aim 

To consecrate my own for Truth and Humanity, 

To this end I devote with honor and sincerity. 

Some say Japanese are studying while they 
are working in the kitchen, but it is all non 
sense. Many of them started so, but nearly 
all of them failed. It is all well up to college, 
where there are not much references need to 
read. After you have served dinner, wash 
ing dishes and cleaning dining-room, you are 
often tired when you commence to write an 
essay. You will feel sometime your fingers 


are stiff and your arms are ache. In the after 
noon, just when you began concentrated on 
the points in the book, the front door bell rung 
the goods delivered from the stores, or call 
ers to mistress, or telephone messages and what 
not. How often you are disturbed while you 
have to read at least three hours succession 
quietly in order to make the outline and dug 
up all the essential points. I have experience, 
once I attended lecture after I have done a 
rush work in the kitchen. I was so tired felt 
as though all the blood in the body rushing up 
to the brain and partly sleepy. My hands 
would not work. I could not take the note of 
professor s lecture, as my head so dull could 
not order to my hand what professor s lecture 

Many Japanese servants has told me as soon 
as they saved sufficient amount of money they 
would start the business. But many young 
Japanese, while their intentions are laudable, 
they will find the vile condition of environment 
in a large city like New York has a greater 
force than their moral courage could resist. 
Disheartened from the hard work or excessive 
disagreeableness of their environment often 
tempt them to seek a vain comfort in the mis 
directed quarter; thus dissipate their pre 
ciously earned money. Even those who have 
saved money successfully for the capital to 
start the business, their future is quite doubt 
ful. When they have saved enough money 


it will be a time that their business ability 
melted away or by no means are sharp. Years 
husbanding of domestic work, handicapped 
and over-interfered by mistress, their mental 
agilities are reduced to the lamentable degree. 
Yet, matured by these undesirable experience, 
most of them are quite unconscious of this out 
come as little by little submissive and depend 
ing habit so securely rooted within their mind. 
It will be an exceedingly hard to adjust them 
selves immediately to the careful and shrewd 
watch required in the modern business enter 
prise, though they may be assisted by the in 
stinct of self-interest. Most deliberate reflec 
tion is required from these unconscious servile 
habit of action to restore to their previous in 
dependent thinking mind. The sooner they 
quit the kitchen the better, though needless to 
say there are a few 7 exceptions. 

Above all I am so grateful to the members 
of the Japanese Consulate, prominent citizens 
of our colony, editors of Japanese papers, 
ministers and secretaries of Japanese missions 
co-operating each other to help out young 
Japanese to secure their more agreeable and 
harmless position, and also they are throwing 
their good influence to induce Japanese domes 
tic servants to go over to Korea and Man 
churia to become a pioneer and land owner in 
these country, instead of to be the co-worker 
with the Venus in the American commissary 





Mr. Lee Chew is a representative Chinese business man of 
New York. He expresses with much force the following opin 
ions that are generally held by his countrymen throughout 
America. The interview that follows is strictly as he gave it, 
except as to detail of arrangement and mere verbiage. 

THE village where I was born is situated in 
the province of Canton, on one of the 
banks of the Si-Kiang River. It is called a 
village, although it is really as big as a city, 
for there are about 5,000 men in it over eigh 
teen years of age women and children and 
even youths are not counted in our villages. 

All in the village belonged to the tribe of 

Lee. They did not intermarry with one 

another, but the men went to other villages 

for their wives and brought them home to their 

fathers houses, and men from other villages 

Wus and Wings and Sings and Fongs, etc. 

chose wives from among our girls. 

When I was a baby I was kept in our house 
all the time with my mother, but when I was 
a boy of seven I had to sleep at nights with 
other boys of the village about thirty of them 
in one house. The girls are separated the 
same way thirty or forty of them sleeping 


together in one house away from their parents 
and the widows have houses where they work 
and sleep, though they go to their fathers 
houses to eat. 

My father s house is built of fine blue brick, 
better than the brick in the houses here in the 
United States. It is only one story high, 
roofed with red tiles and surrounded by a stone 
wall which also incloses the yard. There are 
four rooms in the house, one large living room 
which serves for a parlor and three private 
rooms, one occupied by my grandfather, who 
is very old and very honorable ; another by my 
father and mother, and the third by my oldest 
brother and his wife and two little children. 
There are no windows, but the door is left open 
all day. 

All the men of the village have farms, but 
they don t live on them as the farmers do here ; 
they live in the village, but go out during the 
day time and w r ork their farms, coming home 
before dark. My father has a farm of about 
ten acres, on which he grows a great abundance 
of things sweet potatoes, rice, beans, peas, 
yams, sugar cane, pineapples, bananas, lychee 
nuts and palms. The palm leaves are useful 
and can be sold. Men make fans of the lower 
part of each leaf near the stem, and water 
proof coats and hats, and awnings for boats, 
of the parts that are left when the fans are cut 

So many different things can be grown on 


one small farm, because we bring plenty of 
water in a canal from the mountains thirty 
miles away, and every farmer takes as much as 
he wants for his fields by means of drains. 



20 x 20 ft. 




He can give each crop the right amount of 

Our people all working together make 

these things, the mandarin has nothing to do 

with it, and we pay no taxes, except a small 

one on the land. We have our own Govern- 



ment, consisting of the elders of our tribe 
the honorable men. When a men gets to be 
sixty years of age he begins to have honor and 
to become a leader, and then the older he grows 
the more he is honored. We had some men 
who were nearly one hundred years, but very 
few of them. 

In spite of the fact that any man may cor 
rect them for a fault, Chinese boys have good 
times and plenty of play. We played games 
like tag, and other games like shinny and a 
sort of football called yin. 

We had dogs to play with plenty of dogs 
and good dogs that understand Chinese as 
well as American dogs understand American 
language. We hunted with them, and we also 
went fishing and had as good a time as Ameri 
can boys, perhaps better, as we were almost 
always together in our house, which was a sort 
of boys club house, so we had many playmates. 
Whatever we did we did all together, and our 
rivals were the boys of other club houses, with 
whom we sometimes competed in the games. 
But all our play outdoors was in the daylight, 
because there were many graveyards about 
and after dark, so it was said, black ghosts 
with flaming mouths and eyes and long claws 
and teeth would come from these and tear 
to pieces and devour any one whom they might 

It was not all play for us boys, however. 
We had to go to school, where we learned to 


read and write and to recite the precepts of 
Kong-f oo-tsze and the other Sages, and stories 
about the great Emperors of China, who ruled 
with the wisdom of gods and gave to the 
whole world the light of high civilization and 
the culture of our literature, which is the ad 
miration of all nations. 

I went to my parents house for meals, ap 
proaching my grandfather with awe, my 
father and mother with veneration and my 
elder brother with respect. I never spoke un 
less spoken to, but I listened and heard much 
concerning the red haired, green eyed foreign 
devils with the hairy faces, who had lately 
come out of the sea and clustered on our shores. 
They were wild and fierce and wicked, and 
paid no regard to the moral precepts of Kong- 
f oo-tsze and the Sages; neither did they wor 
ship their ancestors, but pretended to be wiser 
than their fathers and grandfathers. They 
loved to beat people and to rob and murder. 
In the streets of Hong Kong many of them 
could be seen reeling drunk. Their speech 
was a savage roar, like the voice of the tiger 
or the buffalo, and they wanted to take the 
land away from the Chinese. Their men and 
women lived together like animals, without 
any marriage or faithfulness, and even were 
shameless enough to walk the streets arm in 
arm in daylight. So the old man said. 

All this was very shocking and disgusting, 
as our women seldom were on the street, ex- 


cept in the evenings, when they went with the 
water jars to three wells that supplied all 
the people. Then if they met a man they 
stood still, with their faces turned to the wall, 
while he looked the other way when he passed 
them. A man who spoke to a woman on the 
street in a Chinese village would be beaten, 
perhaps killed. 

My grandfather told how the English for 
eign devils had made wicked war on the 
Emperor, and by means of their enchant 
ments and spells had defeated his armies and 
forced him to admit their opium, so that the 
Chinese might smoke and become weakened 
and the foreign devils might rob them of their 

My grandfather said that it was well known 
that the Chinese were always the greatest and 
wisest among men. They had invented and 
discovered everything that was good. There 
fore the things which the foreign devils had 
and the Chinese had not must be evil. Some of 
these things were very wonderful, enabling the 
red haired savages to talk with one another, 
though they might be thousands of miles 
apart. They had suns that made darkness 
like day, their ships carried earthquakes and 
volcanoes to fight for them, and thousands of 
demons that lived in iron and steel houses spun 
their cotton and silk, pushed their boats, pulled 
their cars, printed their newspapers and did 
other work for them. They were constant^ 


showing disrespect for their ancestors by 
getting new things to take the place of the 

I heard about the American foreign devils, 
that they were false, having made a treaty by 
which it was agreed that they could freely 
come to China, and the Chinese as freely go to 
their country. After this treaty was made 
China opened its doors to them and then they 
broke the treaty that they had asked for by 
shutting the Chinese out of their country. 

When I was ten years of age I worked on 
my father s farm, digging, hoeing, manuring, 
gathering and carrying the crop. We had no 
horses, as nobody under the rank of an official 
is allowed to have a horse in China, and horses 
do not work on farms there, which is the reason 
why the roads there are so bad. The people 
cannot use roads as they are used here, and so 
they do not make them. 

I worked on my father s farm till I was 
about sixteen years of age, when a man of 
our tribe came back from America and took 
ground as large as four city blocks and made a 
paradise of it. He put a large stone wall 
around and led some streams through and built 
a palace and summer house and about twenty 
other structures, "with beautiful bridges over 
the streams and walks and roads. Trees and 
flowers, singing birds, water fowl and curious 
animals were within the walls. 

The man had gone away from our village a 


poor boy. Now he returned with unlimited 
wealth, which he had obtained in the country 
of the American wizards. After many amaz 
ing adventures he had become a merchant in 
a city called Mott Street, so it was said. 

When his palace and grounds were com 
pleted he gave a dinner to all the people who 
assembled to be his guests. One hundred pigs 
roasted whole were served on the tables, with 
chickens, ducks, geese and such an abundance 
of dainties that our villagers even now lick 
their fingers when they think of it. He had 
the best actors from Hong Kong performing, 
and every musician for miles around was play 
ing and singing. At night the blaze of the 
lanterns could be seen for many miles. 

Having made his wealth among the barbar 
ians this man had faithfully returned to pour 
it out among his tribesmen, and he is living in 
our village now very happy, and a pillar of 
strength to the poor. 

The wealth of this man filled my mind with 
the idea that I, too, would like to go to the 
country of the wizards and gain some of their 
wealth, and after a long time my father con 
sented, and gave me his blessing, and my 
mother took leave of me with tears, while my 
grandfather laid his hand upon my head and 
told me to remember and live up to the ad 
monitions of the Sages, to avoid gambling, 
bad women and men of evil minds, and so to 
[288 ] 


govern my conduct that when I died my an 
cestors might rejoice to welcome me as a guest 
on high. 

My father gave me $100, arid I went to 
Hong Kong with five other boys from our 
place and we got steerage passage on a 
steamer, paying $50 each. Everything was 
new to me. All my life I had been used to 
sleeping on a board bed with a wooden pillow, 
and I found the steamer s bunk very uncom 
fortable, because it was so soft. The food was 
different from that which I had been used to, 
and I did not like it at all. I was afraid of the 
stews, for the thought of what they might be 
made of by the wicked wizards of the ship made 
me ill. Of the great power of these people I 
saw many signs. The engines that moved the 
ship were wonderful monsters, strong enough 
to lift mountains. When I got to San Fran 
cisco, which was before the passage of the Ex 
clusion act, I was half starved, because I was 
afraid to eat the provisions of the barbarians, 
but a few days living in the Chinese quarter 
made me happy again. A man got me work 
as a house servant in an American family, and 
my start was the same as that of almost all the 
Chinese in this country. 

The Chinese laundryman does not learn his 

trade in China; there are no laundries in 

China. The women there do the washing in 

tubs and have no washboards or flat irons. All 



the Chinese laundrymen here were taught in 
the first place by American women just as I 
was taught. 

When I went to work for that American 
family I could not speak a word of English, 
and I did not know anything about housework. 
The family consisted of husband, wife and 
two children. They were very good to me 
and paid me $3.50 a week, of which I could 
save $3. 

I did not know how to do anything, and I 
did not understand what the lady said to me, 
but she showed me how to cook, wash, iron, 
sweep, dust, make beds, wash dishes, clean 
windows, paint and brass, polish the knives and 
forks, etc., by doing the things herself and 
then overseeing my efforts to imitate her. 
She would take my hands and show them how 
to do things. She and her husband and chil 
dren laughed at me a great deal, but it was 
all good natured. I was not confined to the 
house in the way servants are confined here, 
but when my work was done in the morning I 
was allowed to go out till lunch time. People 
in California are more generous than they are 

In six months I had learned how to do the 
work of our house quite well, and I was get 
ting $5 a week and board, and putting away 
about $4.25 a week. I had also learned some 
English, and by going to a Sunday school I 
learned more English and something about 


Jesus, who was a great Sage, and whose pre 
cepts are like those of Kong-f oo-tsze. 

It was twenty years ago when I came to this 
country, and I worked for two years as a ser 
vant, getting at the last $35 a month. I sent 
money home to comfort my parents, but 
though I dressed well and lived well and had 
pleasure, going quite often to the Chinese 
theater and to dinner parties in Chinatown, I 
saved $50 in the first six months, $90 in the sec 
ond, $120 in the third and $150 in the fourth. 
So I had $410 at the end of two years, and I 
was now ready to start in business. 

When I first opened a laundry it was in 
company with a partner, who had been in the 
business for some years. We went to a town 
about 500 miles inland, where a railroad was 
building. We got a board shanty and worked 
for the men employed by the railroads. Our 
rent cost us $10 a month and food nearly $5 a 
week each, for all food was dear and we 
wanted the best of everything we lived prin 
cipally on rice, chickens, ducks and pork, and 
did our own cooking. The Chinese take nat 
urally to cooking. It cost us about $50 for 
our furniture and apparatus, and we made 
close upon $60 a week, which we divided be 
tween us. We had to put up with many in 
sults and some frauds, as men would come in 
and claim parcels that did not belong to them, 
saying they had lost their tickets, and would 
fight if they did not get what they asked for. 


Sometimes we were taken before Magistrates 
and fined for losing shirts that we had never 
seen. On the other hand, we were making 
money, and even after sending home $3 a 
week I was able to save about $15. When the 
railroad construction gang moved on we went 
with them. The men were rough and preju 
diced against us, but not more so than in the 
big Eastern cities. It is only lately in New 
York that the Chinese have been able to dis 
continue putting wire screens in front of their 
windows, and at the present time the street 
boys are still breaking the windows of Chinese 
laundries all over the city, while the police seem 
to think it a joke. 

We were three years with the railroad, and 
then went to the mines, where we made plenty 
of money in gold dust, but had a hard time, for 
many of the miners were wild men who car 
ried revolvers and after drinking would come 
into our place to shoot and steal shirts, for 
which we had to pay. One of these men hit 
his head hard against a flat iron and all the 
miners came and broke up our laundry, chasing 
us out of town. They were going to hang us. 
We lost all our property and $365 in money, 
which members of the mob must have found. 

Luckily most of our money was in the hands 
of Chinese bankers in San Francisco. I drew 
$500 and went East to Chicago, where I had 
a laundry for three years, during which I in 
creased my capital to $2,500. After that I 


was four years in Detroit. I went home to 
China in 1897, but returned in 1898, and began 
a laundry business in Buffalo. But Chinese 
laundry business now is not as good as it was 
ten years ago. Amercan cheap labor in the 
steam laundries has hurt it. So I determined 
to become a general merchant, and with this 
idea I came to New York and opened a shop 
in the Chinese quarter, keeping silks, teas, 
porcelain, clothes, shoes, hats and Chinese pro 
visions, which include shark s fins and nuts, 
lily bulbs and lily flowers, lychee nuts and 
other Chinese dainties, but do not include rats, 
because it would be too expensive to import 
them. The rat which is eaten by the Chinese 
is a field animal which lives on rice, grain and 
sugar cane. Its flesh is delicious. Many 
Americans who have tasted shark s fin and 
bird s nest soup and tiger lily flowers and 
bulbs are firm friends of Chinese cookery. If 
they could enjoy one of our fine rats they 
would go to China to live, so as to get some 

American people eat ground hogs, which 
are very like these Chinese rats and they also 
eat many sorts of food that our people would 
not touch. Those that have dined with us know 
that we understand how to live well. 

The ordinary laundry shop is generally 

divided into three rooms. In front is the 

room where the customers are received, behind 

that a bedroom and in the back the work shop, 



which is also the dining room and kitchen. 
The stove and cooking utensils are the same as 
those of the Americans. 

Work in a laundry begins early on Monday 
morning about seven o clock. There are 
generally two men, one of whom washes while 
the other does the ironing. The man who 
irons does not start in till Tuesday, as the 
clothes are not ready for him to begin till that 
time. So he has Sundays and Mondays as 
holidays. The man who does the washing fin 
ishes up on Friday night, and so he has Satur 
day and Sunday. Each works only five days 
a week, but those are long days from seven 
o clock in the morning till midnight. 

During his holidays the Chinaman gets a 
good deal of fun out of life. There s a good 
deal of gambling and some opium smoking, 
but not so much as Americans imagine. Only 
a few of New York s Chinamen smoke opium. 
The habit is very general among rich men and 
officials in China, but not so much among poor 
men. I don t think it does as much harm as 
the liquor that the Americans drink. There s 
nothing so bad as a drunken man. Opium 
doesn t make people crazy. 

Gambling is mostly fan tan, but there is a 
good deal of poker, which the Chinese have 
learned from Americans and can play very 
well. They also gamble with dominoes and 

The fights among the Chinese and the oper- 


ations of the hatchet men are all due to gam 
bling. Newspapers often say that they are 
feuds between the six companies, but that is a 
mistake. The six companies are purely be 
nevolent societies, which look after the China 
man when he first lands here. They repre 
sent the six southern provinces of China, 
where most of our people are from, and they 
are like the German, Swedish, English, Irish 
arid Italian societies which assist emigrants. 
When the Chinese keep clear of gambling 
and opium they are not blackmailed, and they 
have no trouble with hatchet men or any 

About 500 of New York s Chinese are 
Christians, the others are Buddhists, Taoists, 
etc., all mixed up. These haven t any Sunday 
of their own, but keep New Year s Day and 
the first and fifteenth days of each month, 
when they go to the temple in Mott Street. 

In all New York there are less than forty 
Chinese women, and it is impossible to get a 
Chinese woman out here unless one goes to 
China and marries her there, and then he must 
collect affidavits to prove that she really is his 
wife. That is in case of a merchant. A laun- 
dryman can t bring his wife here under any 
circumstances, and even the women of the 
Chinese Ambassador s family had trouble get 
ting in lately. 

Is it any wonder, therefore, or any proof 
of the demoralization of our people if some of 


the white women in Chinatown are not of good 
character? What other set of men so isolated 
and so surrounded by alien and prejudiced 
people are more moral? Men, wherever they 
may be, need the society of women, and 
among the white women of Chinatown are 
many excellent and faithful wives and mothers. 

Some fault is found with us for sticking to 
our old customs here, especially in the matter of 
clothes, but the reason is that we find American 
clothes much inferior, so far as comfort and 
warmth go. The Chinaman s coat for the 
winter is very durable, very light and very 
warm. It is easy and not in the way. If he 
wants to work he slips out of it in a moment 
and can put it on again as quickly. Our shoes 
and hats also are better, we think, for our pur 
poses, than the American clothes. Most of 
us have tried the American clothes, and they 
make us feel as if we were in the stocks. 

I have found out, during my residence in 
this country, that much of the Chinese preju 
dice against Americans is unfounded, and I 
no longer put faith in the wild tales that were 
told about them in our village, though some of 
the Chinese, who have been here twenty years 
and who are learned men, still believe that there 
is no marriage in this country, that the land is 
infested with demons and that all the people 
are given over to general wickedness. 

I know better. Americans are not all bad, 
nor are they wicked wizards. Still, they have 


their faults and their treatment of us is out 

The reason why so many Chinese go into 
the laundry business in this country is because 
it requires little capital and is one of the few 
opportunities that are open. Men of other 
nationalities who are jealous of the Chinese, 
because he is a more faithful worker than one 
of their people, have raised such a great outcry 
about Chinese cheap labor that they have shut 
him out of working on farms or in factories or 
building railroads or making streets or dig 
ging sewers. He cannot practice any trade, 
and his opportunities to do business are limited 
to his own countrymen. So he opens a laun 
dry when he quits domestic service. 

The treatment of the Chinese in this country 
is all wrong and mean. It is persisted in 
merely because China is not a fighting nation. 
The Americans would not dare to treat Ger 
mans, English, Italians or even Japanese as 
they treat the Chinese, because if they did there 
would be a war. 

There is no reason for the prejudice against 
the Chinese. The cheap labor cry was always 
a falsehood. Their labor was never cheap, 
and is not cheap now. It has always com 
manded the highest market price. But the 
trouble is that the Chinese are such excellent 
and faithful workers that bosses will have no 
others when they can get them. If you look 
at men working on the street you will find an 


overseer for every four or five of them. That 
watching is not necessary for Chinese. They 
work as well when left to themselves as they 
do when some one is looking at them. 

It was the jealousy of laboring men of other 
nationalities especially the Irish that raised 
all the outcry against the Chinese. No one 
would hire an Irishman, German, Englishman 
or Italian when he could get a Chinese, be 
cause our countrymen are so much more hon 
est, industrious, steady, sober and painstaking. 
Chinese were persecuted, not for their vices, 
but for their virtues. There never was any 
honesty in the pretended fear of leprosy or in 
the cheap labor scare, and the persecution con 
tinues still, because Americans make a mere 
practice of loving justice. They are all for 
money making, and they want to be on the 
strongest side always. They treat you as a 
friend while you are prosperous, but if you 
have a misfortune they don t know you. There 
is nothing substantial in their friendship. 

Irish fill the almshouses and prisons and 
orphan asylums, Italians are among the most 
dangerous of men, Jews are unclean and ig 
norant. Yet they are all let in, while Chinese, 
who are sober, or duly law abiding, clean, edu 
cated and industrious, are shut out. There are 
few Chinamen in jails and none in the poor 
houses. There are no Chinese tramps or 
drunkards. Many Chinese here have become 
sincere Christians, in spite of the persecution 


which they have to endure from their heathen 
countrymen. More than half the Chinese in 
this country would become citizens if allowed 
to do so, and would be patriotic Americans, 
But how can they make this country their 
home as matters are now? They are not al 
lowed to bring wives here from China, and if 
they marry American women there is a great 

All Congressmen acknowledge the injustice 
of the treatment of my people, yet they con 
tinue it. They have no backbone. 

Under the circumstances, how can I call 
this my home, and how can any one blame me 
if I take my money and go back to my village 
in China? 



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